By MOST REVEREND WILTON D. GREGORY, Archbishop of Atlanta | Published May 21, 2009
Would St. Paul Twitter? I had that very thought as Veronica, one of our communications department staffers, was trying to teach me about this new Internet tool. I believe that not only would St. Paul Twitter, he would urge all of those who are Church ministers of the Gospel to do the same. Paul was never bashful in employing the contemporary vehicles of communication to proclaim Christ crucified and risen from the dead in his own time. Not only would Paul utilize this modern day means of communications, he probably would have a blog and a Facebook page to proclaim the message of salvation—and he would expect all those who carry out the modern-day mission of evangelization to do so as well.
The Church is in the business of the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we must make more effective use of those vehicles at our disposal to accomplish that task. The Catholic Church has always been engaged in using up-to-date technology to achieve that mission in the world. The Gutenberg Bible of the mid-1400s was state of the art when it first appeared as a translation of the Latin Vulgate Scriptures. Guglielmo Marconi helped Pope Pius XI establish Vatican Radio in 1931, giving the pope his first worldwide radio broadcast. And the first television religious personality of the 1950s was none other than our own Archbishop Fulton Sheen.
The Church has never shied away from using contemporary means to engage the world, and I hope we will continue to make effective use of the vehicles of social communications.
The Archdiocese of Atlanta has undertaken a careful review of our communications capabilities, and (apart from trying to bring the Archbishop into the 21st century with Twitter) we will soon begin introducing some new ways of reaching out to our people. We are attempting to update our use of technology so that information is more quickly and efficiently sent to our parishes, personnel and all those who seek data about this local Church.
Many of the Internet resources can at times be tedious and superficial in their content, but the capacity of this ever-expanding instrument of communication would make St. Paul envious at what is available to the Church today in proclaiming and announcing our Faith far and wide.
Occasionally, some people might suggest that all of these new resources are simply attractive to our youngsters. But more than a few grandparents have discovered that they can easily bridge the many miles that separate them from their grandchildren by having a computer and checking out the blogs and Facebook accounts of those precious youngsters who might live across the country or even attend colleges across the globe.
Over the next several months, we will be employing more contemporary and innovative ways to communicate with our parishioners here in North and Central Georgia. We do so confident that there is much that we can learn regarding enhancing our contacts with people and going about the mission of the Church in more effective ways. And we do so confident that St. Paul himself would smile on our efforts—especially during this year that is dedicated to his own evangelical innovations and outreach to the entire world. The world was then pretty narrow by our own standards—but the task remains the same for us today as the one he faced twenty centuries ago.