Media in the Catholic church: a blessing, or a curse?


Abbey Alexander, Faith In Action Editor

The next time you walk into mass on a Saturday evening, take a look around you and see how many teenagers you can find, or lack there of. This begs the question; is religion still apart of the lives of today’s youth?

Thankfully, yes. With youth groups, religious retreats, and various modern ways to stay in touch with their faith, teens are still keeping up with their personal religious beliefs. This can be attributed to the rise of media in the Church. Apps, twitter accounts, digital publications, and online religious devotionals all are apart of a movement that some say is saving the youth’s involvement in the Catholic Church.

The movement perhaps started with Pope Benedict XVI, the first Pope to have a Youtube and Facebook. Following this, people started building a Catholic presence in the media. Blogs allow information and conversation between not only the youth, but anyone that has access to the internet. It enables those without authority in the church to offer their thoughts in an easy and accessible way. A more recent addition to Catholic Media is the abundance of twitter accounts. Millennials can easily open up their twitters and see tweets from the pope, catholic publications, or, at Xavier in particular, Father Kevin.

Social Media makes people feel like they’re apart of something. So when teenagers can feel included in something that is so often labeled as only popular with an older generation, it helps enthrall them into the community of the church that they otherwise may stay away from.

This being said, social media has its threat to the church. Yes, it makes staying in touch with your faith much more accessible, but is that the way it should be? Church isn’t necessarily supposed to be convenient. What’s happening, is teens are opening up their “Bible Verse A Day” apps, spending 5 minutes staring at the screen, and then closing it and not thinking about it for the rest of the day.

Sure, it’s better than nothing, but before social media, people had to leave their houses and go to mass, because there was no other option. Mass and spending time praying is not interchangeable with tweeting and reading religious blog posts.

Similar to most things, the presence of media in the Catholic Church is both a blessing and a curse. It helps bring in the youth and draw them into the community, but it also creates a habit of not entirely filling out their duties as members of the Church. Although the church promotes the use of social media to some extent, what is considered too far?