Witness in the digital world
"...I would like to conclude this message by addressing myself, in particular, to young Catholic believers: to encourage them to bring the witness of their faith to the digital world. Dear Brothers and Sisters, I ask you to introduce into the culture of this new environment of communications and information technology the values on which you have built your lives. In the early life of the Church, the great Apostles and their disciples brought the Good News of Jesus to the Greek and Roman world. Just as, at that time, a fruitful evangelization required that careful attention be given to understanding the culture and customs of those pagan peoples so that the truth of the gospel would touch their hearts and minds, so also today, the proclamation of Christ in the world of new technologies requires a profound knowledge of this world if the technologies are to serve our mission adequately. It falls, in particular, to young people, who have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the responsibility for the evangelization of this "digital continent". Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the "Good News" of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people. Human hearts are yearning for a world where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to these expectations: may you become its heralds! The Pope accompanies you with his prayers and his blessing..."
The digital world the Pope speaks about is not simply an array of computers or a group of people, but a true and veritable “world”, an atmosphere with its rules and dynamics, with its places and its habitants. It is a world that is “inhabited” and not just “used”: something that is not primarily perceived as an instrument to “do things”, but rather as an atmosphere in which I live, I nourish myself, and I construct my existence in relation to others.
In this place which is at the same time communicative, informative, and in which relationships of friendship are created, young people are called to bring their own Christian witness.
The digital world can at times seem far from the faith, almost as the pagan world of the Romans or the Greeks could have seemed far off to Paul; but like the Apostle to the Gentiles, our young people are called to bring the Good News, through the use of new technologies, that are based on their appropriate and deep knowledge.
Christian witness can be carried by young people – this is another important element the Pope expresses in his Message – they do not just “explain” the Gospel, as much as above all they “share” Christ’s message and his Good News.
In this way, the witness becomes truly a better world, evangelically more “incarnate”, to live within this new atmosphere of communication. A new witness that manages, above all through the enthusiasm and strength of young people, to enter into the core of the culture of this new digital continent that vigorously asks to be evangelized and inhabited by adult and conscious Christians.