The Winter 2011 print edition of Dominicana is currently in the final stages of editing. In the forthcoming issue, a new section titled “Disputed Questions” will be introduced. Below are excerpts from two essays on the first topic to be addressed: Preaching and the Internet.
Meeting Christ on Google
Clement Dickie, O.P.
Every Dominican is familiar with the story of St. Dominic and the innkeeper. Holy Father Dominic spent all night talking with an innkeeper in what is now southern France until the man converted from the Cathar heresy to the true faith. The need to spread the Gospel by personal engagement remains in the modern world, but now the Internet has replaced the inn and the marketplace of the past as the locus for informal exchanges of ideas. If we are to share the faith with modern men in developed countries, the Church must be online.
A preacher’s online presence should have at least one of three goals: helping people to learn about God, helping them get to church, and exhorting them to holiness. All of these goals can be accomplished with a little hard work. However, oftentimes Christians online provide a counter-witness to the Gospel or develop an interior focus that narrows our thinking and causes us to lose sight of others’ souls. Above all, the online preacher must remember that, as with St. Dominic in the inn, sharing the Gospel means making a personal connection.
Surfing the Net for Jesus?
Innocent Smith, O.P.
A good way to begin a fight among Catholics of a certain perspective would be to declare: “If Chesterton were alive today, he would be a blogger.” Notice what dangerous ground we are on, treading the delicate fissure between our imagined visions of Chesterton the conservative, who stands up for everything good and holy and decadent, and Chesterton the innovator, the journalist of Fleet Street who disgorges daily essays of higher or lower quality using the latest media technology. Which side of our Chestertonian self-projection will prevail when it encounters “the Internet”? Regardless, what stance are we to take ourselves? Are we to use this technology, or to shun it?
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