San Paolo (Agenzia Fides) - "The tools of communication also contain the potential to advance man in a process of maturation in a Christian key. Although a clear awareness of this is already widespread, there is still the risk of misuse of the new communication resources. Therefore, for some time now, there has been a need to ensure a correct use of these instruments from the pastoral point of view". This is what Father Ace Valdez, a missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) reports to Agenzia Fides, when speaking of the actions implemented by the Brazilian Church in response to the challenge of evangelization in the world of the internet. "The reality of social networks - observes Father Ace - is very widespread in Brazil: the most recent data tell us that 150 million people, 70% of the total population of the country, are present in the virtual and digital world".
Faced with this phenomenon, the Brazilian Bishops' Conference has created “Pascom”, a pastoral network which, in a transversal way, is at the service of the evangelizing action of the Church and dialogues with the world of the media, also involving professionals and researchers. "Pascom - reports the missionary - is organized in thousands of communities and parishes in most of the dioceses of Brazil. Besides the local Churches, almost all Brazilian religious institutes also have a communication team. In my opinion - he underlines - there is, however, a concern: given that the media, especially social media, are realities that go beyond geographical borders, the risk is to lose the sense of belonging to one's own parish community. But - he continues - beyond the tools, what makes the difference is always the availability and attention that the missionary or the baptized individual offers to others". This requires a style: "One must understand - he explains - that in social media there is a very common language, very widespread among digital natives, young people are surprised when I use the expressions they use on the Internet, they feel at ease and open up because they perceive that someone understands their language. It's like learning a 'new language', this too is 'inculturation' for a missionary", he adds.
Another local survey on the Internet access revealed that in Brazil, text, voice or image messages exchanges through applications are used by 95.7% of people over 10 years of age who access the network. "Social networks - he concludes - are a means, they reduce distances in the world and this can become another precious gift. Young people today, however, are attentive observers and even on the web they look for a testimony that communicates a life lived interwoven with the Word of God and the Eucharist". (ES) (Agenzia Fides, 5/6/2021)