Pope Benedict XVI has given his personal approval to bishops in the southeastern United States who are using social media to evangelize. So writes the EWTN website.

“He understood and supported us in our use of this vehicle because it does allow the Church to enter the lives of our people in a very effective, immediate and global way,” Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta told EWTN News on May 7, just after meeting with Pope Benedict.

“He himself, of course, has been introducing and supporting more and more social media for the Holy See,” Archbishop Gregory noted.

In fact, the Atlanta archbishop believes that “without a proper and prudent use of this vehicle, the new evangelization will never get off the road, it will never start.”

Archbishop Gregory is in Rome May 7-11 as part of a delegation of bishops from Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas, who are making their periodic “ad limina” visit to the Vatican. The visit is required off every diocese in the world – usually every five years – to provide a written report to the Pope on previous progress and future plans.

During a morning audience with Pope Benedict, the bishops decided to focus on the need for the Catholic Church “to use more effectively the modern means of social communications,”Archbishop Gregory said.

He described this type of communication to the Pope as “the new Areopagus,” referring to the forum in ancient Athens where St. Paul debated with the 1st century Greeks.

“We need to use that more effectively, we told the Holy Father, because that is how many of our young people get their information – they get it online, on Facebook and Twitter and blogs … And the Church belongs there, the Church needs to be there,” he said.

Archbishop Gregory explained that his archdiocese already uses Facebook, Twitter and other internet-based communication tools to evangelize, including a weekly column on the archdiocesan website for young adults, written by the archbishop himself.

Meanwhile, the Vatican has also been getting in on the act. Among other initiatives, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications unveiled an online news service in 2011, which Pope Benedict launched with a Tweet. The site, www.news.va, now has over 10,000 people using it every day.

Archbishop Gregory said that today’s discussion with the Pope highlighted that new media is “not simply to refute the errors that are there but to present effectively and successfully the Church’s teaching, the Church’s values, the Church’s mission.”

That belief is something the Pope “agreed with us, I felt, enthusiastically.”

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/Vatican.php?id=5395#.T6keRRtH7Wo.twitter#ixzz1uPqOFatG

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