Elizabeth Drescher, at Religion Dispatches, discusses the pope’s recent call for priests to get savvy with online media. She questions whether the Catholic hierarchy really understands what it will be getting into with the (arguably) non-hierarchical landscape of social networks:

The Vatican’s brave foray into the social media landscape offers but one illustration of how new social media reshapes religious institutions and practices, pressing intently on traditional roles, centers of authority, understandings of spiritual identity, and the construction of spiritual community in what has been called the “Digital Reformation.” Clearly, this is not an exercise in simple inculturation or contextual translation (if there ever really were such things). Effectively participating in the new social media environment is not a matter of picking up a new vocabulary of glyphs, images, and sounds that will “capture” the attention of those with whom we want to connect. Digital media has no captives. At least so far, no one’s really figured out how to effectively and durably colonize it. And, I’m pretty sure that’s all to the good.

Read more at Religion Dispatches.