Vatican sees podcasting as important pastoral tool

Podcasting, already offered by Vatican Radio and Church Resources, offers an important new way for pastors to reach contemporary Christians through their digital jukeboxes, an influential Jesuit magazine said.

CLICK HERECatholic News Service reports that the church should not pass up the opportunity to make liturgies and prayers available via podcast, as well as downloadable sermons by "podpreachers", said the magazine, La Civilta Cattolica, in its 5 November issue.

The magazine is considered to reflect the 'Vatican view' because its contents are reviewed by Vatican officials before publication.

Podcasting allows individuals to download audio or video files from the Internet to their iPod or other digital device, for listening or viewing at a later time. Users can subscribe to podcasts and have episodes delivered automatically to their computer and digital player.

The popularity of podcasting has generated a subcategory called "Godcasting," which refers to efforts by churches, preachers and religious media to tap into the digital communications boom.

Experts have called podcasting the next generation of radio, so it was no surprise that Vatican Radio began offering podcasting in July, the Jesuit magazine said. The response was overwhelming, it said; the highest number of downloads so far has been for Pope Benedict XVI's interview with the radio in August.

The Jesuit journal said podcasting should be examined with "extreme attention" by church communicators and seems to offer a real pastoral opportunity.

For example, it said, liturgies can be podcast for those unable to attend Mass, and sermons can be routinely routed to subscribers for later listening. Daily prayer podcasts can also be tastefully created and made available, it said.

The magazine said the church has a responsibility to use tools like podcasting in a creative way, as a means to fulfill its mission.

Quoting from a 2002 document of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, it said that "hanging back timidly from fear of technology or for some other reason is not acceptable, in view of the very many positive possibilities of the Internet."

Last month, Church Resources commenced podcasting the daily Gospel Meditation available on its prayer website at pray.com.au

Podcasting could be important pastoral tool, says Jesuit magazine (Catholic News Service 8/11/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
La Civilta' Cattolica
Daily Gospel Meditation Podcast (Church Resources/Daily Prayer Online)
The Church and Internet (Pontifical Council for Social Communications 28/2/02)
Catholic Insider

10 Nov 2005