The internet is an essential tool of evangelisation for the Church today, but must be used with discernment, Pope Francis, told participants of the 26th Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, meeting under the theme “Proclaiming Christ in the digital age,” on Saturday.
Pope Francis said the rise and development of the internet raises the question of the relationship between faith and culture. Looking back to the first centuries of Christianity, the Pope pointed out Christians encountered the “extraordinary legacy” of Greek culture.
“Faced with philosophies of great profundity and educational methods of great value – although steeped in pagan elements, the Fathers did not shut them out, nor on the other hand, did they compromise with ideas contrary to the Faith,” Pope Francis said. “Instead, they learned to recognize and assimilate these higher concepts and transform them in the light of God’s Word, actually implementing what Saint Paul asks: Test all things and hold fast to that which is good.”
He said this also applies to the internet: “You must test everything, knowing that you will surely find counterfeits, illusions and dangerous traps to avoid. .. But, guided by the Holy Spirit, we will discover valuable opportunities to lead people to the luminous face of the Lord. Among the possibilities offered by digital communication, the most important is the proclamation of the Gospel.”
He said it is not enough to acquire technological skills, however important. He said the internet must be used to meet “often hurting or lost” real people and offer them “real reasons for hope.”
“The announcement of the Gospel requires authentic human relationships and leads along the path to a personal encounter with the Lord,” he said.
“Therefore, the internet is not enough; technology is not enough,” Pope Francis continued. “This, however, does not mean that the Church's presence online is useless; on the contrary, it is essential to be present, always in an evangelical way, in what, for many, especially young people, has become a sort of living environment; to awaken the irrepressible questions of the heart about the meaning of existence; and to show the way that leads to Him who is the answer, the Divine Mercy made flesh, the Lord Jesus.”
Source: Vatican Radio