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What Every Catholic Using Social Media Should Know

social-media [1]Do you regularly read Church documents from the past? If you don’t, you should start. Many people talk about Vatican II, and will very, very quickly give their opinion.

And yet a large majority of those same people have never read all the documents, if any at all.

I want to study Inter Mirifica [2]. Church documents are often named after the first few words of the original Latin document. Inter Mirifica is the Latin title of the document called, “Decree on the Media of Social Communication [2].” The words “Inter Mirifica” simply mean, “Among the Wonderful…”

Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the document are introductory paragraphs, stating why the document is written. There’s some content there, but I want to skip to chapter 1, which is paragraph 3.

Paragraph 3 of Inter Mirifica [2] makes three main points:

Point 1: The Church Needs To Use New Media

There’s not too much to say about this because it is rather straight forward.  Parsing it out into different ‘parties’ of the Church, though, we can see how there are different ways to engage:

Point 2: A Note About Pastors

Pastors have a great opportunity for evangelization. As priests, they are already looked up to and reverenced by the faithful. The more access, inspiration, and teaching that the faithful can receive from their pastors, the better.

Some pastors – and even bishops – are using social media effectively. Take a look at folks like Cardinal O’Malley [3], Fr. Roderick from SQPN, and Fr. Martin Linebach [4] Several, if not most, pastors are not using social media. That’s okay, because it may not fit in their vocation. This fact is rapidly changing though, especially with the rise in number of younger vocations to the priesthood.

A lot of the Generation Y  priests, or “John Paul II priests” are starting to become ordained and are eager to do whatever they can to evangelize.

Popular ways that bishops and priests are engaging in New Media are:

Point 3: We Must Shine Brightly On the Internet

With the last point of paragraph 3, the Church charges us to bring a “human spirit” into the world of social media. The reason for this is simple: for all the good that the Internet is accomplishing, it is still the main media of everything evil. Countless cases of bullying, the on-going rape on human dignity thanks to porn, and even the destruction of marriages have been the product of the Internet alone.

Instead of hating the Internet, though, the Church desires us to hijack it, infuse it with love, and bring people to a life of freedom in Christ.

Three ways to do that: