Vatican encourages priests to use the Internet

The Popes message for the 44th World Communications Day will be published on the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists. This message, which falls within the Year for Priests, has as its theme: The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word. Jean-Fran├žois Mayer, director of the Religioscope Institute, based in Frieburg, Switzerland, explained that the message is in part dedicated to the Internet and the Churchs reflection on its use.The Catholic Church, for some time now, has demonstrated a great interest in the Social Communications Media, to which the Internet has been included. In this regard, the Church has published important documents that reflect on the use of the Internet and the Churchs presence on the Internet.However, the Church does not simply survey the Internet and reflect on the possible uses of these new networks — from the Vatican to the laity, and including priests, she is equally involved. On the one hand, there are official initiatives: there is the very important Vatican website, which was developed on the initiative and encouragement of John Paul II, as well as diocesan websites. Likewise, there are many personal initiatives from different groups from within the Catholic Church, and from individuals — for example, the expansion of blogs that are run by priests.According to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, this years message invites priests to consider the new media as a powerful resource for their ministry in the service of the Word and encourages them to address the challenges that arise from the new digital culture.