Social media must not replace face-to-face encounters

“Priests must never see social media as a replacement for face-to-face encounters in their pastoral ministry. Social media should rather be an extension of a priest’s pastoral presence” – Bishop Emmanuel Ade Badejo.

Bishop Badejo of Oyo Diocese, Nigeria and Chairman of the Pan African Episcopal Committee on Social Communication (CEPACS) said this at the Fourth National Mission Congress of Nigeria held in Benin City in Nigeria from 22nd to 27th October 2019.

Speaking on the topic the role of the media in evangelization: opportunities and challenges, Bishop Badejo said every medium of communication has both an opportunity and a challenge depending on the kind of use to which it is put by the human element behind it. This goes from traditional media to the digital.

He emphasized the important roles various media elements can play in the mission of evangelization; Traditional Media (electronic and print), Artists and Artistes as dynamic Media, Catholic Institutions which he said must become media for evangelization, and Digital Media Tools, as an inexhaustible opportunity.

Bishop Badejo added that there must be special focus of the youth as agents of communication; “we must find a way to conquer the laziness of Catholics as regards evangelization …. If young people would share the words of scripture or an uplifting homily with the same dexterity with which they share an interesting but mundane information, the Gospel would have long been better served. This lukewarm attitude is probably the biggest challenge to the role of media in evangelization”.

“In the case of new media, the challenge remains how does the Church lead from the kind of contact made possible by the Internet to the deeper communication demanded by Christian proclamation? How do we build upon the first contact and exchange of information which the Internet makes possible?”

He indicated that social media should be noted as an extension of other forms of media and hence will not entirely replace other forms of communication that have previously elevated the gospel in the Church and have served the mission of evangelization.

It is therefore necessary for every catechumen to understand right from the moment of baptism that they are meant for mission and have a role in evangelization. Everyone must work for evangelization according to his ability – Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo emphasized.

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