Friday, June 29, 2007

St. Peter, St. Paul and.... the iPhone

Today we celebrate the great feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the dynamic duo of the Catholic Church, the veritable Batman and Robin of Christianity! It just so happens that today is also the debut of the infamous iPhone, a stunning piece of technology that's now available all over the known universe.

So.... two great saints and one incredible gadget. On the same day.... Coincidence? Nope. I think this is an opportunity for some serious imagining-ation.

So let's just imagine that these two pillars of the Church had the chance to spread the gospel with the help of the infamous iPhone....

I think St. Peter, bold, often impetuous and quick-tempered, might have picked it up with his callous fisherman fingers and.... dropped it into the sea. End of story.

St. Paul? Here's a different story. Passionate, highly educated, leader of the pack of the Pharisees in his day, slightly neurotic perhaps? He would have LOVED this device. He'd have bookmarked all of the best biblical websites, downloaded stunning maps of the Mediterranean region for his mission trips, and have pie charts on the religious make up of the population of those various pagan communities well before he ever got there! You know it's true!

Now... just when you think this blog is a little goofy, scandalous, anachronistic?... consider this sweet line from Pope Paul VI's letter on technology. That's right, written in 1963 to boot!

“Man’s genius has with God’s help produced marvelous technical inventions from creation, especially in our times. The Church, our mother, is particularly interested in those which directly touch man’s spirit and which have opened up new avenues of easy communication of all kinds of news, of ideas and orientations.”
- Pope Paul VI, Inter Mirifica

And try this one on for size, from Pope John Paul II:

The Internet causes billions of images to appear on millions of computer monitors around the planet. From this galaxy of sight and sound will the face of Christ emerge and the voice of Christ be heard? For it is only when his face is seen and his voice heard that the world will know the glad tidings of our redemption. This is the purpose of evangelization. And this is what will make the Internet a genuinely human space, for if there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man.
- Message for the 36th World Communications Day

The task of Catholics today is not to fear or run from the amazing developments in technology that surround us, but to see them as tools, gifts even, that we can use to spread the Gospel, our faith in Jesus, and the vision we have and hope for of a true civilization of love. Just take a cruise through the Internet, and do a search for Catholic blogs and you will find at least 2,330,000 of them!! Look up Catholic websites on Google and fall down mumbling this astounding digitary figure: 2,250,000!

Now, trust me. As sweet as the iPhone is (or the Blackberry ;), you can't beat the face to face encounter and the power of the quiet witness of faith, in the diner, the grocery store, on the train or the bus, at the movies or the Sunday Mass sign of peace. The rest are just tools, the person before you is the temple where God truly dwells.

"Today it takes no great stretch of the imagination to envisage the earth as an interconnected globe humming with electronic transmissions - a chattering planet nestled in the provident silence of space. The ethical question is whether this is contributing to authentic human development and helping individuals and peoples to be true to their transcendent destiny."

- Archbishop John Foley, former head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications:

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