The Internet has changed the whole paradigm of communications. The
Church is not the only organization to feel lost, bewildered and
befuddled. Many organizations that prided themselves on being rock
solid on communications, have floundered. Some have died. Even a
computer company like Dell got hurt badly.
In the last few weeks, I have studying "Seven new behaviours for the
Internet Age". Starting today let me share them with you:
1. Listen with new intelligence to the "buzz" and "conversation"
around you. "Buzz" and "conversation" are two current words in
Yesterday's Gospel provides a good starting point – "Who do men say
that I am?"
Was Jesus doing market research? Or was he asking for feedback? He
wanted to know the "buzz" or the "conversation" about him in the
environment of his time. He was keen to know EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW!
Unfortunately, today we don't want to know! And we want to silence
even those who tell us by accusing them of being "rude"," "impolite"
or "lacking charity". If only the Church worldwide had listened, it
might have saved itself the billions of dollars it is paying out in
the US, Ireland, England, Austria and Australia for the crimes of
The Pope is worried because new scandals are emerging, the latest
being in his home country, Germany.
Listening and the courage to speak up are important – and the Internet
provides an opportunity to do so for both.
On the Internet, there are several new layers of communications. There
are the idea starters who kick off new "conversation". And there are
the "amplifiers" - the bloggers, the people who express themselves
freely, the Google Group and Yahoo groups like "mangalorean.com" and
"daiji.com" who increase the ripple effect by spreading the
conversation to their own audiences.
Interestingly, even though the official Church has failed to move with
the time and use the Internet, I find priests like Claude Saldanha and
Juze Vas using Internet groups very effective for giving people a
daily dose of spirituality. They constitute the Church on the
Internet. What is most interesting is that this is a bottom-up
development, not Top-Down, not from the hierarchy.
It is in line with what Fr Henri Boulad wrote to this group recently:
change will come from below. Yes, change is already coming from the
people of God who are more in touch with Him and themselves than those
who claim to speak in His name. ###
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