Vatican City, 7 December 2013 (VIS) - “To proclaim Christ in the digital era is a special field for the work of the young”, since for them the internet is in a certain sense their natural home. It is a widespread, complex reality in continual evolution, and its development continues to pose the ever-valid question of the relationship between faith and culture.”
Pope Francis commented that the theme, chosen by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in its plenary assembly – “Proclaiming Christ in the digital era” – was “a very current question” which however recalled the first centuries of Christianity in which “the Church wished to measure up to the extraordinary legacy of Greek culture”.
“Faced with philosophies of great depth and an educational method of exceptional value, but infused with pagan elements, the Fathers did not shy away from comparison, nor did they compromise with any ideas contrary to their faith. Instead, they were able to recognise and assimilate the most elevated concepts, transforming them from within in the light of the Word of God. They implemented St. Paul's call to 'test everything, hold on to the good'. Also, among the opportunities and dangers of the internet, it is necessary to test everything, aware that we certainly find false currencies, dangerous illusions and traps to be avoided. But, guided by the Holy Spirit, we will also discover valuable opportunities to lead mankind towards the luminous face of the Lord”.
Among the possibilities offered by digital communication, the most important “regards the proclamation of the Gospel. It is certainly not enough to acquire technological skills, although these are important. It is above all about meeting real women and men, often harmed or lost, to offer them real reasons for hope. Proclamation requires authentic and direct human relations to flow into a personal encounter with the Lord. Therefore the internet is not enough, technology is not sufficient. This, however, does not mean that the presence of the Church on the web is useless; on the contrary, it is indispensable to be present, always in an evangelical style, in what has become for many people, especially the young, a sort of life environment, to reawaken the insuppressible questions the heart asks about the meaning of existence, and to indicate the way to He Who is the answer, the divine Mercy made flesh, the Lord Jesus”.
Francis concluded by commenting that the Church forever walks a path “in the search of new ways to proclaim the Gospel. The contribution and the witness of lay faithful is shown every day to be indispensable”.