Bishops in Africa Encouraged to “Revolutionize Church media Presence”
CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 21 July 2016
Catholic Bishops in Africa have been encouraged to engage the modern digital media and ensure presence on the various social and networking forums considering that these platforms are “the new pulpits of our time.”
Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of Oyo diocese, Nigeria, made the encouragement Wednesday, to the delegates and participants at the ongoing meeting of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) in Angola’s capital city, Luanda.
“The Church must absolutely be more present on the digital media in a deliberate and informed manner,” Bishop Badejo said and called on Church leaders on the continent to “create new apostles, make allies of young people themselves who are natives of the digital world and entrust them with the gospel values.”
He went on to call on Church leaders to invest in modern digital media saying, “It is beyond contestation that billions of people today turn to the social media for their source of information yet there is too little investment in media programmes for evangelization in Africa.”
Bishop Badejo who was facilitating a workshop titled “Influence of modern media and new ideologies on the family in Africa today” urged Church leaders to “develop and engage families in media education or educational awareness programs on the benefits and dangers of the new media.”
“Parents who are not familiar with how the Internet works are more likely to ignore the dangers,” he noted and added, “This is truer in Africa.”
He proposed the organization of “diocesan and parish seminars that target parents and children,” which need to be facilitated by experts in the modern media field.
He also challenged “Church leaders (bishops, clergy and religious)” to become familiar “with the knowledge of current social, moral and religious issues in order to provide informed answers to people’s questions.”
“There is no gainsaying that we all live in an era of technology take over which will only increase in the future,” Bishop Badejo who also heads the Pan African Committee of Bishops for Social Communications (CEPAS) said.
There is a negative use of modern digital media in some situations, he acknowledged. However, he said, the Church must “keep believing that the benefits of the new media far outweigh their demerits even with respect to pastoral possibilities and spiritual engagement.”
Gathering under the theme of the family in Africa in the light of the Gospel, the delegates representing Catholic Bishops in Africa, among them seven Cardinals, are expected to propose specific pastoral guidelines for family apostolate, reaffirming marriage as a union between a man and a woman.