An African bishop has warned that the Church on the continent must go digital if it wants to cope with what he described as a 21st-century “Babel mediascape with no gatekeepers”. Source: Crux.
“The Church in Africa would do well to come to terms with the fact that linear media models that allowed for more centralised and regulated government control were over,” said Bishop Bernardin Francis Mfumbusa of Kondoa in Tanzania.
Bishop Mfumbusa said that the era in which the Church could control the flow of information, through instruments such as the Nihil Obstat and the Imprimatur – both certifications that a publication is a free of doctrinal or moral error – is over.
“It is in this media environment of fake news; misinformation and doxxing that a revitalised CEPACS will need to find its place,” he said, referring to the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications, which recently marked its 50th anniversary during a conference in Lagos, Nigeria.
“Doxxing” refers to revealing personal information about someone online, such as their real name, home address, workplace, phone, financial, and other personal information.
Bishop Mfumbusa warned that today’s media climate is now dominated by “the young, sometimes untrained Influencers and content creators”. In that context, he said the Church must develop its own laity, priests and religious sisters “who are conversant with programming and have coding skills”.
“Increased cooperation and guidance with young Catholic influencers could also be explored,” he said.
Archbishop Andrew Nkea of Cameroon said the Church in Africa needed to equip members of the clergy and women and men religious with digital skills in order to enable them to take up the apostolate full-time.
African bishops call for priests, religious to be formed for digital evangelization (Ngala Killian Chimtom, Crux)