Dutch priest and author Fr Michel Remery, in Australia for this weekend’s Australian Catholic Youth Festival, is encouraging the Church not to be afraid of using social media. Source: The Catholic Leader.
Fr Remery, known for his book and app Tweeting with God, was at St Paul’s Book Centre in Brisbane last week launching his new book Online with the Saints and en route to Perth for the festival.
“I think it is important to overcome the image of what we often have as a Church that social media is dangerous; it’s too short to be relevant; it’s superficial; it’s un-Christian, even, sometimes,” he said.
“Let’s try to be open to what’s there, realistic as well, and we have to learn how to deal with it. There are dangers everywhere. There are dangers when you’re conceived. Dangers are there but I think we need to open up and recognise the possibilities rather than the dangers.”
Social media was just a tool or a means of meeting each other, he said. There was good or bad to be found everywhere.
“I think by simply living our faith with conviction, I think we can do a lot of evangelisation not just in the streets, not just in the park, but online,” Fr Remery said.
“So in that sense, it’s an important way of being present as a Church to be where people are, to unite Jesus, go on the road in the wrong direction and simply accompany them – even if they go the wrong way, even if they sin – but don’t join them in sin.”
Online with the Saints integrates a physical book with a mobile app and videos.
The book responds to questions asked by young people and answers them from the perspective of a saint. Words tailored to an informed Catholic audience were omitted or introduced slowly so as to keep the text accessible.
“‘Encyclical’ is a beautiful word, but it’s simply a letter from the Pope,” he said. “I’d rather have them get to know the saints and how they are close to God than learn specific Catholic vocabulary.”
How Fr Michel Remery breaks bread in a digital Jerusalem (The Catholic Leader)