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.