The Role of the Internet in the New Evangelization
(Prof. Jose Vidamor Yu, Manila)
To affirm the role of the internet in the pursuit of the new evangelization reflects the Church’s interest of using the various means of communication for the spread of the Word of God in the world today. The Church gives importance to those gadgets which will open up new avenues of easy communication of all kinds of ideas, news and orientations (IM 1) especially in the Third Millennium. The means of social communications are indicators of man’s development of his ingenuity and the new discoveries in the area of communications are indicative of man’s interest to use his endowed talents for the benefit of all mankind.
Internet as a gift
The internet is the fruit of human invention and progress. As it is widely used by the people today, it becomes the opportunity of the Church to encourage them their right to develop as well as to remind them the right use of these instruments for the sake of human development and progress through love, justice, and peace. Any advancement of social communication should aim for the common good. During the 36th World Communications Day, John Paul II emphasized in his message that “for the Church the new world of cyberspace is a summons to the great adventure of using its potential to proclaim the Gospel message.” However, the Church has the duty to lead those in the cyberspace to transcend from what is virtual to something that is real in one’s Christian life. He says that “the Christian community think of very practical ways of helping those who first make contact through the Internet to move from the virtual world of cyberspace to the real world of Christian community.”
Internet as the means for Evangelization
The Church continues to be the bearer of God’s message in the world today. Media and other forms of social communications find its prominent and important place in the life of every individual. As the Church enters into the Third Millennium, She experiences the power and the influence the internet brings today. The Pontifical Council for Social Communications commented that “technological change rapidly is making the media of communication even more pervasive and powerful.” Besides, the internet may unite people to know, love, and worship the Giver and Source of these gifts of social communications. The Council reminds us that “viewed in the light of faith, the history of human communication can be seen as a long journey from Babel, site and symbol of communication's collapse (cf. Gn 11:4-8), to Pentecost and the gift of tongues (cf. Acts 2:5-11) communication restored by the power of the Spirit sent by the Son. Sent forth into the world to announce the good news (cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15), the Church has the mission of proclaiming the Gospel until the end of time.”
The approach of the Church towards social communications is positive but challenging. It acknowledges the direction of God’s plan for humankind because through these inventions, man advances towards his finality and goal. However, the Church has the duty to promote the Christian ideals as man utilizes the means of social communication. Man called to serve human dignity through media. These means of social communication should lead man towards his own destiny, happiness and fulfillment. Among its noble effects the Pontifical Council for Social Communications affirms that the Internet is relevant to many activities and programs of the Church like evangelization, re-evangelization and the new evangelization and the traditional missionary work ad gentes, catechesis and other kinds of education, news and information, apologetics, governance and administration, and some forms of pastoral counseling and spiritual direction.