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Pope wants priests on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites

Pope Benedict XVI is calling on Roman Catholic priests to preach to the faithful by using the latest new media technologies as well as the pulpit.
The pope recently released his message for the Catholic Church’s 2010 World Day for Social Communications, to be held May 16. He told priests to use social media, blogs and Web sites to preach the gospel and to encourage dialogue with those interacting with their sites.
The World Day for Social Communications’ theme is The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word. The pope's message was tailored for the current Year for Priests, which runs from June 19, 2009 to June 19, 2010.
The Archdiocese of Detroit is following the pope’s call for greater use of new media as it is in the process of hiring a director of digital media, who will implement and deploy new media technology and social media for the archdiocese, according to a job announcement.
The church has used traditional forms of media to communicate the gospel, Pope Benedict said. If the church wants to reach young people it will need to use new media technologies, the pope added.

The Rev. Willem Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, The
Netherlands, launched a Twitter campaign last
year for vocations to mark the Year for Priests.
Pope Benedict XVI wants priests to use social
media to spread the gospel to mark this year's
World Day for Social Communications. (Photo
by Archdiocese of Utrecht)

“Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word,” the pope said.
Priests should not abandon traditional methods of ministry, the pope said, but they cannot pass up the opportunities offered by new media technologies.
“The recent, explosive growth and greater social impact of these media make them all the more important for a fruitful priestly ministry.” Pope Benedict said.
In order to effectively use new media, priests need to be trained to use these technologies in a competent and appropriate way while their message should be guided by sound theology and priestly spirituality, the pope’s message said.
Already embracing new media, the Vatican has a Web site, a Facebook application called Pope to You, a Youtube site and even an iPhone app.

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