BY DAN McALOON
For Christians, the digital communication revolution poses questions about how to engage and communicate the Good News across cyberspace.
In his message for the World Day of Communications, Pope Benedict XVI spoke directly to the digital phenomenon, describing our time as embroiled in “a vast cultural transformation”. The new technologies, wrote the Pope, “are changing the way we communicate and communication itself.”
Interactive media, said the Pope, offer “a new way of learning and thinking, with unprecedented opportunities for establishing relationships and building fellowship.”
The theme of the recent national Catholic Media Congress held in Sydney - Communicating the Word: Timeless Messages, New Media - points to the many challenges ahead.
As Bishop David Walker of Broken Bay Diocese advised participants, whenever one goes on mission in the new media “context is key”. The Internet has no rules on good behaviour, nor checks on truthfulness.
Articulating Christian knowledge and wisdom, and sharing it with people who are seeking the scriptural truths has characterised the work of The Broken Bay Institute (BBI) in its 10-year life.
In that time BBI has evolved from a Catholic correspondence college into a leading Australian online theological provider. Translating Christian teachings into courses especially designed for online learning defines BBI as a “digital native”.
For people wishing to deepen their faith formation, BBI’s short Adult Faith Online (AFO) courses are excellent resources, according to Marita Winters, the Director of the Catholic Enquiry Centre in Sydney. Marita said since the Enquiry Centre began advertising itself on Internet sites like Facebook and Google new inquiries have leapt to around 100 a month.
“We meet people who are at the very beginning of their faith journey,” Marita said.
Catholics engage in the digital age (Catholic Diocese of Parramatta)