Thursday, November 12, 2009

Going Online... and Leaving the "Ghetto"

With the media arm of Europe's federation of bishops' conferences holding its quadrennial plenary in Rome this weekend, the French wire reports that the four-day gathering dedicated to "Internet Culture and the Church" started off with a call for the church's top ranks to dive deeper into the Web:
"The Internet is increasingly an integral part of everyday life," [Bishop] Jean-Michel Di Falco said....

"By not being present (on the Web), you cut yourself off from a large part of people's lives," added the bishop of Gap, in southeastern France....

Representatives from the social network Facebook, the Google search engine, the YouTube video sharing website and the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia are guests at this year's meeting of the European Episcopal Commission for Media, a Swiss-based Vatican agency.

The Web "shuffles the deck, makes us step down from our pedestal, from our magisterial chair and makes us come out of our ghettos," said Di Falco.

"Pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, lay people -- with the Internet we enter a marketplace, a free and spontaneous space where everything is said about everything, where everyone can debate everything," he added.
An auxiliary to Paris' legendary Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger before his 2003 appointment to Gap, Di Falco serves as president of the EECM, part of the catch-all council representing Europe's 33 national episcopates.

The Frenchman's comments, however, only came after the Vatican's lead hand on mass communications revealed that B16 doesn't just limit the keyboard-tickling to his beloved piano.