Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, has urged Catholics to evangelize the “digital culture.” He made his remarks on March 18.  A common theme spoken of  in recent weeks from various Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict. Celli’s office has been working overtime in recent weeks in tackling media in its various forms. And one must remember that it has taken aliong time to get where we are today, thanks in part to the good work of many laity, lower clergy and a Franciscan Sister of the Eucahrist Sister Judith Zoebelein. The Vatican has been on the web since 1995.

Archbishop Celle told L’Osservatore Romano in a March 17 interview that after Easter, the Holy See will launch a new news website that will gather all the Vatican media services into one portal in English, French and Italian with the hope to offer its media services in additional languages.

Social communication in the Church has been a key issue in Benedict’s pontificate and since January 24th the concern has been to work on fleshing out the Pope’s invitation to “understand that the Church is called to dialogue with the men and women of our time, who are increasingly more immersed in a digital culture. Essentially this means to broaden the horizons of the diakonia of the culture.” But the question of the proper use of social communication has been an issue for our ecclesial proclamation for a lomg time; certainly John Paul made social media communications a priority and started some intersting projects, not least the Vatican’s presence on the internet. Remember that John Paul’s pontificate more-or-less corresponds with the launching of CNN.

The work of the Church since the beginning –even as early as Saint Paul– has been to work with various media to proclaim Christ to the nations using the language and art that most easily reaches people today and that is understandable, concrete and verifiable. The people of God are asking for less abstract expressions of the Gospel and tradition because of the weight of the message given.

How is this done? Archbishop Celli sees the issue rooted in the Church’s centers of Christian (faith) formation which hopefully network –partner– with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. The type of media engagement we’re seeking is not one divorced from the personal –that is, the human– but one that is uniquely engaged in that which is real, true, human and beautiful.

The question becomes: to what degree do we allow our humanity to be involved with the real questions facing existence, life in our personal contexts and in the lives of people around us? We don’t live in a perfectly sealed bubble!

This is a work not merely for the clergy (who are often too ill-equipped) to take up the challenge but for the entire Body of Christ –the Church. It is the call of all the baptized!!!