In his October 6, 2011, column for the The Evangelist, the official publication of the diocese of Albany, Bishop Howard J. Hubbard discussed seven failings of the Church which he believes have contributed to the alienation of Catholics from the Church. One of those failings is what he calls a “deficiency in technology.”
Bishop Hubbard refers to two sources in his comments about this deficiency: Larry D. Rosen, author of Rewired and Rev. James Martin, SJ, culture editor of America. With Rosen he points out that teens and young adults are immersed in the digital culture. He also points out that many people—not only the young are communicating and getting their news and information on social networks like Facebook, blogs and websites rather than from the traditional news media. Unfortunately, according to Martin “many Catholic sites, both diocesan and parish, are un-imaginative, difficult to navigate, full of dead links and look like they have not been redesigned in the past decade.”
Bishop Hubbard implies in his comments on the deficiency of technology as well as in his comments on the other failings of the Church (clergy sexual abuse, parish closures, anemic parish life, pastoral insensitivity, poor preaching/liturgies, exploiting and failing to accept the marginalized in society) a failure to embrace and carry out the Church’s evangelizing mission.
I wish to comment explicitly about evangelization and technology. Technology is a tool for mission. Our mission is to bring the person and teachings of Jesus Christ into every element of our society. Technology gives us the ability to reach into homes, offices, cafes, and now through mobile devices—streets, beaches, you name it—almost everywhere in a way that was never possible before. But I wonder when I hear about the resistance to use technology for ministry whether it is really a resistance to “go out” to all the people. We know the reasons that are given: not enough time, money or interest on the part of people in ministry to use technology. Are those really the reasons? I believe if we embraced our evangelizing mission, we would find the money, time and interest to use technology much more effectively to share our faith than we are now. What do you think?
Thanks to Dan Horan, OFM, who brought Bishop Hubbard’s article to my attention through his blog, Dating God.