Italian priest gives tips on evangelization in cyberspace

Rome, Italy, Aug 1, 2012 / 07:05 pm (CNA).- He is the Italian Jesuit who coined the word “Cybertheology,” and is now trying to coach Catholics on how to best evangelize through the internet.

“The Church is called to be there where man is and today man is also on the internet,” Fr. Antonio Spadaro S.J. told CNA in Rome.

“So, my efforts are meant to try and understand the world, to comprehend its dynamics so as to be present also as people of the Church, to assist others to also be so in this environment.”

Fr. Spadaro, 46, is a professor at the Jesuit’s Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and also the editor of the order’s publication La Civiltà Cattolica.

His academic career has combined philosophy, theology and social communications. Those disciplines came together to help create his book “Cybertheology; Thinking Christianity at the time of the Net” which was published in Italian in March 2012.

“Cybertheology, as I call it, consists of this reflection on the faith in the information age. Whereas in other ages it was difficult to exchange information, today we are substantially immersed. You could say there's an information overload. Information inundates us.”

His writings, therefore, attempt to help the Christian understand, consume and use social media more effectively.

“For me, it is a great honor to apply my work in this area of the Universal Church and I seek to pick up on the greatest demands that are being made of the Church today.”

His writings are also available at his similarly named website www.cyberteologia.it. Regularly updated, his latest postings make available the best advice for evangelizers seeking to spread the Gospel through social networking sites such as Facebook.

“The question of God is a strong one, but we see it coming up everywhere, also in social networks. A desire for prayer arises,” he observed.

Hence his desire “to understand and to analyze” what is going on and then to help Catholics best use technology to explain Jesus Christ to the online community.

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