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US bishop stresses use of social media in reaching youth

Wednesday 27 January 2016, by SIGNIS

Brussels, Manilla, january 27th, 2016 (Ucan/SIGNIS). The US bishop Robert Barron, known for using social media to reach out to the Catholics, said priests should use new communication platforms to reach out to Catholics, especially the young.

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Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles told journalists covering the International Eucharistic Congress in the Philippines that social media is an "extraordinary gift" that the church can use for youth outreach.

"It would be silly not to take advantage of this extraordinary gift we’ve been given," said Bishop Barron, adding that priests ought to take advantage of the revolution in communications technology.

Bishop Barron, known for his commentaries in various church media outlets, runs the "Word on Fire Catholic Ministries" that includes a website that offers blogs, articles, commentaries, and weekly podcasts of homilies. "If St. Paul were around, it seems he would use all the media available to him," said Bishop Barron, adding that the apostle used the communications technology of his own time like "Roman roads and Roman ships and parchment."

Bishop Barron, however, said new media should be backed up by the rich content of "old media." "Spend a long time with the old media of books," he said, adding that those who will preach about the Gospel should "read, read, and read."

"I think the danger is people get out in the new media, but what they communicate is often very superficial and then that world becomes so tendentious and contemptuous," said Bishop Barron.

He warned journalists and priests attending a briefing on the sideline of the congress that media content should not only be philosophical musings or cultural impressions.
Bishop Barron also emphasized the importance of prayer for Catholic media workers and priests.

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