Confessions of a digital “asylum seeker”

By Bishop Peter Ingham

I was born in 1941, in the midst of the Second World War…. a time of intense change followed the war.

We welcomed migrants and refugees seeking asylum who have since truly enriched our country.

Life has changed more than somewhat from when I entered the Seminary in 1956 in Sydney to today. We wrote letters, where you simply waited the postman’s whistle hoping you got mail!

The 60’s, 70’s and 80’s were a time of great social change, the fastest change in the past decade and a half has been what’s made possible by the internet. Suddenly, a new language of blogs and tweets and MySpace and Facebook and XT3.

As the Bishops’ delegate for the media, I am on a sharp learning curve. As I chair the Australian Catholic Media Council, I am kept up to speed on what is happening, aware I am a digital immigrant.

Mostly, with the help of my staff my email and Facebook are attended to. However, the Church must engage with new media. The last two annual Papal messages for World Communications Day have highlighted the opportunities and pitfalls of using the net.

The Church, and people of faith must not remain silent or remove themselves from the realm of public policy and debate, our opinions and contribution should be eagerly sought.

The weight of evidence would suggest that from our long and rich tradition of Catholic faith and culture we might just have more than a little bit of accumulated wisdom to contribute to public debate. It is for this reason, as much as any other, that upholding and securing religious freedom is so vital for society as a whole, not just for believers.

So, it is with this, I welcome you to the newest addition to the Media engagement of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference – The ACBC Media Blog