Do you know any kids who haven’t been to Church lately? Tell them to watch this.
Does New Evangelization Really Need New Media?
By definition media are means to an end. The question we need to ask is if the aim of the New Evangelization is “to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church” (Sacrosantum Concilium, 1), what are the means necessary in order to reach that goal today?
Social media obviously play an important role, because today people reach out for everything on the internet. The problem with means of communication is that there is almost too much information to sift through, for almost every bit of information out there you can easily find something to contradict it, and a lot of the the information is misleading and even detrimental. That problem actually gives us all the more incentive to use social media to promote the Gospel, because there are far too many pundits online deriding Christ’s message. The Church’s presence in social media is an absolute must.
The more important means, however, are actually ends in themselves. How can something be a means and and end at the same time? Think of it this way.
John Paul II concurs with Emmanuel Kant’s famous categorical imperative (his second of three categorical imperatives), which the personalist movement has adopted as the “Personalist Norm,” namely that:
“A person should never be treated merely as a means, but always as an end in itself.”
The key word that I want to point out is the one people often overlook — the word merely is a keen distinction in this phrase. Without that distinction, no one could ever work for anyone and we would all have to meet our own needs on our own. Man would become a wolf to man and we would never rise above the continual state of conflict with one another in a dog eat dog world. Or at least you would always have to cook your own food and wash your own dishes and never do anything for anyone else — otherwise, you would be violating your own or someone else’s intrinsic dignity. Pretty absurd.
In Love and Responsibility, Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla at the time when he wrote it) points out that Kant’s personalist norm is just another formulation of the Gospel’s Golden Rule, which is not just simply do on to others as you would have them do on to you, but rather “Love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself.” Wojtyla observes that the truth of Kant’s imperative simply stated in Gospel terms means “the only way to treat a person is with love.”
From this perspective, social media are an important and perhaps necessary means for evangelizing in the world we live in today, yet they are nonetheless secondary means. The primary means are both the essential means for evangelization and also ends to be sought for their own sake: Love, the Holy Spirit, and You.
After all, isn’t that what the Gospel is all about — God’s love for you and his mandate for you to preach, teach, and give God’s love to the rest of the world? Augustine understood the core of this Gospel truth when he preached: “Dilige, et quod vis fac!” — Love and do what you will.
Today, Saint Augustine would say, “Get on line, search on line, and preach on line!!!” But always out of love.
Excellent points on your post yesterday. I think I am going to have to use some of it for an upcoming article here.
Feel free. And thanks!
Right on the mark… I could watch the video on my device but will catch it later… Blessings! Great post!
Thanks, Walter! God’s blessings to you too.
Good points here Biltrix. The only exception I do have on it though, as this I have thought of so often, “Do people who have never heard about God have computers or televisions? To me the only people in the world who could not of possibly heard about our Lord, are those who are extremely primitive. In which case no technology would be available to them or a part of their lifestyles. You know there are still people in the world who live without electricity.:>)
What got me to thinking about this are those who beg and beg for money so they can “preach the message of God to the whole world” via internet or satelite. Not all cultures have this technology.
However I do understand what you are saying, none of it can be done without “love.” It really gets me when I hear some say how everyone is going to hell, (but them of course) yet they tell you this because they “love you” and “must speak the truth.” They are sending you to hell, yet bringing you the “love of God.” To me there is something wrong in that.
To me some of this “modern day Evangelization” could use a little less media and a whole lot more love. Good reflective post and God Bless, SR
God loves the poor. There are still many areas of the world where men and women will need to abandon their modern comfort zone to bring Christ’s message to the simple, humble, noble children of God who have still not heard the Word of God.
I heard some astonishing missionary stories at dinner last night. There was this one missionary in Papua New Guinea who travels to on foot from village to village, and every village speaks a different language. He cannot possibly learn every language. So how does he preach? Even if they had electricitty and wifi, it wouldn’t make any difference. He has to rely on the Holy Spirit and find innovative ways to teach the word of God. It would be too much for me to expound upon his methods here, but it all effectively establishes your point.
The term “New Evangelization” was coined by John Paul II before the dot-com boom. How then can the New Evangelization depend on the new social media, which did not even exist when the initiative was launched?
The world needs to be evangelized and re-evangelized. The Spirit blows where it will. We can only collaborate using the every licit means at our disposal to reach people where they are at.
I do agree that we need to use every licit means at our disposal to reach people where they are at. Good point. God Bless, SR
I agree with your premise that social media is not a very effective form of evangelism. Contact evangelism is king. The apostle Paul found that out long ago when he said, “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2).
The person to person approach is always more effective, combined with basic scriptural instruction and the fundamentals of the faith. Thanks friend! God bless!
Reblogged this on Perpetual Learner.
🙂 ~ Thanks Fr Matthew. Hey everybody, check out Fr Matthew’s blog sometime. You’ll be glad you did.
You make so many good points here, both in the post and in the comments. I totally agree with you. Nothing will ever replace one-to-one sharing and conversion, but the seed can be, and is, planted through social networking and modern technology of all sorts. Art has always touched hearts and minds. Art is not just painting, literature, and classical music . . . and that is now graphics, ad illustrations, television shows, movies, and musical sounds of all sorts from commercial jingles to hiphop. I think the Church needs to be adept at using all of them to spread the Word. If you don’t think art is one of THE most important ways to touch people’s lives–just take a look at what the advertising industry, via TV, has affected our culture. Complete transformation of lifestyle and values. We can do it, too.
I totally agree! I believe art is our participation in the creative process (if I may call it that; not sure process is the best word). God gave us the skill to imitate him through our production by bringing new and beautiful things into being using the powers and the raw materials he gave us. We should use it to glorify him and bring more people to him, always.