Monday, October 29, 2007

Cardinal Ruini to Priests & Religious: Get Blogging!

From Zenit:

Cardinal Urges Religious to Get Blogging
Says Internet Youth Forums Need Real Christian Message

ROME, OCT. 28, 2007 ( Benedict XVI's vicar for the Diocese of Rome expressed his hopes that religious men and women increase their use of information technology, and thus take advantage of what he called a new form of apostolate.

Cardianl Camillo Ruini spoke to the religious at the Pontifical Urbanian University during the diocesan gathering of the Union of Major Superiors of Italy, which represents 1,287 communities and 22,000 religious in Rome.

According to the Roman diocesan weekly RomaSette, Cardinal Ruini said: "A priest from Novara told me that the theme of 'Jesus' is very much discussed by youth in blogs. The focus, though, comes from destructive books that are widespread today, and not from Benedict XVI’s book ‘Jesus of Nazareth.'

"What will the idea of Christ be in 10 years if these ideas triumph?"

The true Jesus

The 76-year-old prelate admitted, "I don’t understand the Internet, but especially young religious ought to enter blogs and correct the opinions of the youth, showing them the true Jesus.”

“The teaching emergency is central in Benedict XVI's concerns," the cardinal said. "For him, education in the faith coincides with service to society, because to form someone in the faith means to form the human person.

"Simply giving motivations for living defeats nihilism and gives value to the human person, a value that is based on Christ himself, the fact that God became a man."

The cardinal asserted that an educator’s testimony and content can matter more than pedagogical techniques.

He called for catechists to be creative in finding occasions for promoting Benedict XVI’s book, saying it shows the solidity of faith in the historical Jesus of the Gospels, and bases the identity of the Christian in a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

Cardinal Ruini said that in Catholic schools, "the religious can witness to Christ in all their lessons, in the sciences, in history and even in Italian literature, in an inseparable union of faith and culture. Your creativity ought to find new techniques for the vocational challenge, which ought to develop in step with society."

The Cardinal is right on. The web is a battle ground for souls. There are many things which lure people in the wrong direction. There are also many people looking for solid guidance and this can be difficult in an era where watered-down catechesis has ruled for so long.

If you know how to run a blog, you can help priests and religious get started into blogging by setting it up for them, helping them to set it up, or by creating a blog and pasting in their messages without commentary. Many priests are generous in letting parishioners carry their words out to the web.

Blogging priests & religious offer far more benefits to the cyber-flock than meets the eye. One of the more popular search terms that lead people into this blog are things like "traditional religious order" or "traditional nuns". Blogging religious communities can attract vocations. Growing up, and even today if it weren't for Grotto, my only exposure to nuns were not of the traditional type. While there are many non-habited nuns who offer tremendous service to the Church working with the poor, in hospitals, and other settings, young people today especially feel called to more traditional nun roles. The evidence for this is the blossoming numbers in traditional convents. However, young people need ways to locate and consider such orders. They are indeed searching for them on the web and for this reason, convents and monasteries must be visible where the young seek them.

Two outstanding religious order blogs that I keep in my "Blogging priests, religious, and deacons" sidebar list are the Dominican nuns of Summit, NJ and the Benedictines of Mary - a newer order in Kansas City - St. Joseph. Both are photostory blogs, often giving us a glimpse of ordinary life in the cloister.

If you live near a community of religious priests, monks, brothers, sisters, etc., consider helping them in this regard. They may need assistance with computers, or you may consider donating a digital camera and show them how to upload photos if no one in the community knows how. With so many young people entering communities, it is often more a matter of providing them with the tools they may not be able to afford on such a tight budget.

Also, priests and religious should get podcasting too!


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