We live in a world which is constantly being updated. There was a time – the print era – in which we had to wait till next day morning to get an update of news or to reach a personal message across to a friend. Whereas in the electronic era of Television people waited a few hours to get an update in the next scheduled news hour.
However, with the advent of online technologies information is updated constantly in every minute. We also get reminded about software updates of our computers or mobile devices. News, opinions and personal data are constantly being updated through social media. Keeping update is not just the fashion today, but is an integral attitude of post modern culture.
This raises questions about how abreast is the Catholic leadership in updating the Catholic information which includes spiritual materials, moral and theological teaching, Biblical exegesis, catechetical content etc. It is unfortunate that when one searches for proper Catholic content, one is disappointed to get it.
The content and form of Catholic communication including catechesis shall be suitable to the needs of the times. It shall address the receptivity of the persons who receive it. It has to be updated to capture the attention and imagination of young people.
Redemptoris Missio (RM) gives fresh orientations in this direction. These orientations are deeply rooted in and related to cultural studies a flourishing discipline in humanities studies:
- The Church understands the geographical boundaries in an open way by refusing “to allow her missionary presence to be hindered by geographical boundaries or political barriers.”
- Audiences and situations are not the same everywhere
- New worlds and new social phenomena are constantly created due to urbanisation and globalisation
- Cities are centres where this new forms of culture and communication is developed. The Church should not neglect these centres where a new humanity is emerging, and where new models of development are taking shape. The future of the younger nations is being shaped in the cities.
- Cultural sectors are named as the “new Areopagus” and today it can be taken as a symbol of the new sectors in which the Gospel must be proclaimed.
- Among these new cultural sectors the first Areopagus of the modern age is the world of communications, which is unifying humanity and turning it into what is known as a “global village.”
Most importantly this paragraph urges us not simply to use but to integrate the dynamics of postmodern cultural artefacts to our mission and evangelisation: “…it is not enough to use the media simply to spread the Christian message and the Church’s authentic teaching. It is also necessary to integrate that message into the “new culture” created by modern communications.
Catholics were inclined to have an instrumental approach to media and communications. The RM emphatically urges us to break this. It advises us to integrate this dynamics due to the “very fact that there exist new ways of communicating, with new languages, new techniques and a new psychology” (RM 37).
This is a challenge each Catholic has to take up as part of their call and life. Otherwise we would be pushing the Church to be a museum piece in no less time.