Details from Catholic News Service:
The Catholic Church needs to use its media and social networks to spread the faith because much of the news media cover the church in a way that “is full of lies,” Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest told the Synod of Bishops.
Across Europe, there is “a spreading ignorance about the Christian faith,” which is exacerbated by the media “misinforming the public as to the content of our faith,” the cardinal told the synod Oct. 8.
Cardinal Erdo, president of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, was one of five speakers summarizing the state of evangelization in different regions of the world. Each of the five mentioned the role of the media, and several insisted on the church’s obligation to use social networks to reach new generations of Catholics.
The Hungarian cardinal told the synod that Europeans are losing an awareness of just how essential Christianity has been to the development of their cultures, democracy and the human rights they hold so dear. The loss, he said, is a “consequence of an audiovisual culture” in which clear concepts and logical reasoning are ignored.
Mexican Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, president of the Latin American bishops’ council, told the synod that since the Second Vatican Council, the Latin American bishops have focused on building community, entering into dialogue with the world around them and educating the faithful about their role in transforming society.
Today, he said, the church must “employ new communications technologies to allow the life and mission of the church to be known and for dialogue with the world.” In today’s culture, he said, “the social communications media are most influential.”
In addition, Archbishop Aguiar said, especially in trying to reach younger people, the church must “make use of social networks to spread Catholic thought and its current answers to cultural challenges.”
Young people are searching for meaning in their lives, he said, and if the church is not present in their world with responses, they end up abandoning their search for God.
Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, told the synod that Asia is experiencing a boom in communications technology. “This is not to be viewed as a threat, but a great gift from God to be used to spread the good news.”
The cardinal said the church must help parents, pastors and teachers who can train young people to use the new media and to benefit from them.