Spice Up Your (Church) Life

Ashley Baxstrom: Apparently, the Roman Catholic Church is at risk of death by boredom. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, has told priests they need to pump up their sermons with the scandalous parts of the Bible or face becoming “irrelevant.”  Because, you know, Catholics don’t have enough scandal to deal with already.

Speaking at an event in Rome, the cardinal emphasized the need for priests to keep up with modern media and communicative processes, admonishing them to remember that their congregants are “children of the television and the internet.”

While what that doesn’t mean for Ravasi is that Catholics today are better informed, or more curious, or can take in more information faster, he does promote priests’ use of new media. “Communicating faith doesn’t just take place through sermons,” he says. “It can be achieved through the 140 characters of a Twitter message.”  But it seems that the digital age requires a kind of negative adaptation. Don’t challenge your followers – use simple stories to talk to them. In the fast-paced world of new media, he’s saying, there’s no time for thought or argument; rather, “cut to the heart of the matter, resort to narratives and colour.” The Bible is full of stories and symbols – SCANDALOUS ONES, don’t forget – that excite listeners’ passions.  And that, apparently, is how you motivate the spirit.

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