0940 L Thu 24 Jan 2002
I am impressed by the Pope's new message on the Internet,
particularly the conclusion:
... I dare to summon the whole Church bravely to cross this
new threshold, to put out into the deep of the Net, so that now
as in the past the great engagement of the Gospel and culture
may shown to the world "the glory of God on the face of
Christ" (2 Cor 4:6). May the Lord bless all those who work
for this aim.
Caution is expressed about the internet. For example:
Like the new frontiers of other times, this one too is full
of the interplay of danger and promise, and not without the sense
of adventure which marked other great periods of change. ...
Like other communications media, it is a means, not an end
in itself. ...
Despite its enormous potential for good, some of the degrading
and damaging ways in which the Internet can be used are already
obvious to all, and public authorities surely have a common responsibility
to guarantee that this marvellous instrument serves the common
good and does not become a source of harm. ...
Moreover, as a forum in which practically everything is acceptable
and almost nothing is lasting, the Internet favours a relativistic
way of thinking and sometimes feeds the flight from personal
responsibility and commitment. ...
There is no doubt that the electronic revolution holds out
the promise of great positive breakthroughs for the developing
world; but there is also the possibility that it will in fact
aggravate existing inequalities as the information and communication
gap widens. ...
The Pope is more cautious than, for example, Tom Peters, in
his 1999 book "The Brand You 50":
Short message: If you don't have a Web site ... get one. It
need not be fancy. But it can be of extraordinary value (e.g.:
community building, identity-creating, Client-attracting); and
it signals that you're "with the program" (not stuck
in the Dark Ages). ... (page 138)
For starters: Spend time on the Web. Every Day. Get
comfortable with it. Use it. Assess sites. What works? What doesn't?
... (page 140)
Perhaps this reflects the different audiences. The Pope's
intended audience includes those who cannot afford this or lack
the skills necessary for it. But it is significant that he is
asking Catholics to: "reflect on the subject: "Internet:
A New Forum for Proclaiming the Gospel".
Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 24 January 2002.