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Bishops To Address Challenges, Opportunities In Digital Age

October 17, 2012
Speed of Internet requires rapid response from Church
Bishops' teaching authority makes them not just one voice among many
New communications lets bishops to speak to people unmediated by media

WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops will discuss getting up to speed with church teaching – literally – when they consider a statement on doctrine in the digital age at their November 12-15 meeting in Baltimore

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, chairman of the Doctrine Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will present the statement "Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities for the Exercise of the teaching Ministry of the Diocesan Bishop," to be voted on by the entire assembly of bishops.

The statement cites challenges presented by the "quantum leap" in the speed of communications since the invention of the Internet. It demands that bishops "be able to respond immediately when Church teaching is challenged or misrepresented." The bishops also face the challenge that amidst many voices in the digital world "a bishop's voice on the Internet can appear to be just another in the competition for attention" requiring bishops to explain to people the nature of their authority.

The document also points to new opportunities, noting that the new digital media "constitute a blade that can cut two ways." They "create new difficulties for bishops in the exercise of their teaching office" yet "they also offer powerful new tools for more effective ministry."

A key benefit of new media is "that they offer the bishop the possibility of communicating with people in a relatively unmediated fashion," the document said.

Coverage of the bishops' meeting is open to credentialed media. Sessions open to media will be Monday, November 12, and Tuesday, November 13. Media conferences will follow open sessions of the meeting. Reporters seeking to cover the meeting can download a credential application form at and submit it by November 1 via email to USCCB Media Relations, fax to (202) 541-3173, or mail to:

                                                                November Meeting Credentials
                                                                    Office of Media Relations
                                                                            3211 4th St. NE
                                                                 Washington, DC 20017-1194


Keywords: Cardinal Donald Wuerl, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on Doctrine, new media, Internet, websites, theology

Sr. Mary Ann Walsh
O: 202-541-3200
M: 301-325-7935

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