ReadWriteWeb posted yesterday that the Pope’s gone digital. This year’s theme for the Catholic Church’s World Communications Day is “The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word.”
Wow. That’s amazing. Great. Hopeful. Etc. I’m not a religious guy, really, so my concern here is not with the health of the Church or peoples’ faith in it. Way out of my purview. Instead, I hope this new church position is a sort of bellwether.
Digital scholars have always had to argue, demonstrate, and fight for certain types of legitimacy in all sorts of situations. And I’ve always read these resistances, these skepticisms, as tied not to pedagogically sound identifications of destructive technological influences, but to lack of vision and not-so-subtle conservatism. I’m a little shocked, actually, that an institution so clearly invested in its own historical significance and the maintenance of its most important traditions is willing to announce to the world that it not only condones, but expects it’s leaders to participate in a multitude of digital communication strategies. The Pope challenges church leaders at all levels to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue.
Now, if only we could get more Rhetoric and Composition pedagogues and administrators to even approach the progressive vision of the Catholic Church. That would be something. Not a miracle, of course, but something, nonetheless.