Book Club Channel
Blogs, E-books, and Apps, Oh My! A Review of "The Church and New Media"
I had not, though, expected to find myself poking my husband in the ribs at fifteen-minute intervals, asking, "Have you ever heard of the website One Billion Stories?"
"Hey, you should check out www.eCatholicChurches.com!"
"Hey, did you know . . . ?"
I needed to read this treasure trove with a notebook at hand. The sheer wealth of useful information I've taken away can help to maximize performance in my office, enhance communications at the parish level, and help on a more personal level as I reach out to others in my family and neighborhood.
Pope Benedict XVI has spoken of the "Digital Continent"—that new global community which is connected, not by ethnicity or national origin, but via the Internet. Before him Pope John Paul II reminded us in Redemptoris Missio that we must not only use the media to evangelize, but we must integrate the gospel message into the 'new culture' created by modern communications. And before those two media-savvy popes, the apostle Paul spread the gospel message in distant lands, reaching out to the crowd gathered at the Areopagus and telling them about the one true God.
Were St. Paul alive today, he would most likely welcome the opportunity to use new media. Paul wrote letters which were carried from town to town and painstakingly copied; but how much simpler would the transmission of the gospel have been, had Paul enjoyed access to podcasts and webinars, Facebook and Twitter and Google+!
Pope Benedict launched the Vatican's new website, www.news.va, on June 29, 2011, by pressing a button on his iPad. He spoke again about the importance of social media at his Angelus address on September 18, 2011—calling on all Catholics to participate in the "new evangelization." So the Church today, following on the heels of the apostles and great missionaries and communicators like Bishop Fulton Sheen, must take advantage of the tools Pope Benedict has called "gifts from God."
Brandon Vogt's The Church and New Media can help with that! The book is a compendium of advice and information from many of the most popular media voices in the current age. In Part 1, theologian Fr. Robert Barron, founder of the popular website WordOnFire.org and The Catholicism Project, National Catholic Register blogger and former atheist Jennifer Fulwiler, and successful campus minister Marcel LeJeune all offer helpful tips for evangelizing the culture.
Kathy Schiffer is the wife of a deacon and mother of three grown children, and currently works as Communications/Media Relations Coordinator for Guest House, the treatment center for Catholic clergy and religious. She lives and writes in Southfield, MI, and blogs at Seasons of Grace.