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The Pope Wants Priests on Facebook

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Have you "friended" your priest today? And how many Twitter followers does the Pope have, anyway?

the pope

Vivian Manning-Schaffel: We're about to find out. In a new message from His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI asks priests to "discover new possibilities for carrying out their ministry to and for the Word of God." Through the wonderful world of social networking.

It seems the power that Twitter and Facebook have to reach so many cannot be denied -- even by the Catholic Church. "Church communities have always used the modern media for fostering communication, engagement with society, and, increasingly, for encouraging dialogue at a wider level. Yet the recent, explosive growth and greater social impact of these media make them all the more important for a fruitful priestly ministry," he says.

His Holiness goes on to say that it's not enough for Catholic priests to merely establish a presence in the world of digital media -- they need to be good at it as well. In his message, he said they need to be "more focused, efficient and compelling in their efforts. Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word."

He says it's not enough simply for priests to be online, but they must also interact online by "exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different 'voices' provided by the digital marketplace."

The Pope, an awfully hip fellow at the ripe ol' age of 83, rightly recognizes these social networking tools could open tremendous doors in the work of the Catholic Church. "To priests in particular, the new media offer ever new and far-reaching pastoral possibilities, encouraging them to embody the universality of the Church's mission, to build a vast and real fellowship," he says.

If you so happen to be Catholic, it's one thing to follow or "friend" the Pope or your local priest and soak up their teachings that way. But what if your local Catholic priest "friends" or "follows" you and stumbles upon that "What's your favorite sexual position quiz" or that tweet filled with expressive expletives? You never know what they may remember -- and you may forget -- when you hit the confession booth!

next: John and Elizabeth Edwards Have SPLIT
5 comments so far | Post a comment now
adelaide dancing January 27, 2010, 2:56 PM

does this mean that it’s ok to tweet whilst in sunday morning church? lol

Anonymous January 28, 2010, 4:21 AM

Facebook now with more molesters.
Leaders i don’t think so.
Religon is for morons.
Time to stop the fairy tale foolishness.

b January 28, 2010, 9:43 AM

This isn’t new. Leaders of the LDS church have been on top of using social media formats as a part of ministering, shepherding and proselytizing for a long time. Nice to see that the Catholics are caught up. :)

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