|Working with new media – June 27|
By Vernon Khelawan
Using the media as a vehicle for the New Evangelisation is gaining more and more currency in our secular world and in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain it should be no different.
This point was emphatically brought home by His Grace the Archbishop, Reverend Edward Gilbert when he addressed attendees at the annual Lumen Awards function at the Assumption Centre, Port of Spain recently.
While he admitted that new media was important to the Church in its New Evangelisation thrust, he warned, “It can never be allowed to replace personal contact.” He reminded his audience that just recently Pope Benedict XVI encouraged priests to be involved in the media, “but not at the expense of being physically present to the people.”
Archbishop Gilbert also cautioned that over dependence on the media can “de-personalise” people and added it was now possible to obtain information for reporting without ever leaving the office. “The problem is, there is no contact with people and most reports are about the lives of people,” he said.
Commenting on the theme on which journalists’ submissions were made for the 2009-2010 competition – “Toward a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship”, Archbishop Gilbert said that in his opinion it was a “wisdom saying that we should all reflect on.”
He then pointed out that the theme spoke to the heart of the matter and explained:
1) Respect – deals with our positive attitudes toward self and others;
2) Dialogue – embraces the two essential elements for dialogue – listening carefully and sharing honestly; and
3) Friendship – lifts relationships above functionality.
He said those three criteria protected our humanity, our spirituality and our socialisation.
Archbishop Gilbert touched on the digital world, which now dominates such a large percentage of global communications and said, “Involvement in the digital world is undoubtedly irreversible, however, the human factor and the social factor can somehow be lost in the process.
“Psychologists and counsellors are finding that marriage relationships are being seriously eroded due to an over involvement of partners in media technology/online relationships. Young people are now in addiction programmes, not for drugs or alcohol, but for texting,” the Archbishop stated.