In March I'll be a participant/presenter at a conference entitled Theology after Google. The point of the conference is that we must engage the web if theology is going to be transformative. Philip Clayton has issued the challenge to theologians, telling them that the "trickle down" method isn't working.
Apparently the Pope has gotten the word too, because according to a report out today, he's issued a statement to priests telling them to get out there in cyberspace and tell the story.
In his message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Communications, the pope, who is 82 and known not to love computers or the Internet, acknowledged priests must make the most of the "rich menu of options" offered by new technology.
"Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources — images, videos, animated features, blogs, Web sites — which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis," he said. Priests, he said, had to respond to the challenge of "today's cultural shifts" if they wanted to reach young people.
The Pope does have some words of warning that all of us who are out there in the new media world should heed. According to the article:
But Benedict warned priests not to strive to become stars of new media. "Priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart," he said.
We must also remember that Google, for all its benefits, is not the same as the gospel!
Picture of Pope by Tony Gentile, taken from MSN.com -- Reuters.