THE recently held First Catholic Social Media Summit, which is pioneering in this part of the globe, presented a survey that showed that social networking activity by those who use the internet in the Philippines has increased from 51 percent in 2009 to 82 percent in 2011, catapulting social networking to the top of the list of monthly online activities. Those who are at the thick of, say, Facebook and the microblog Twitter, among others, will not dispute this; they have indeed changed not only the online surfing behavior but, more importantly, the bulk and the value of the content of social sharing.
A relative study also show that there are currently more than 28 million Filipino accounts on Facebook with more than 70 percent of them listed as 18 years old and above. The regular Twitter users in the Philippines is estimated to be at 14 million, while the other major social networking sites, such as Youtube, Multiply, MySpace and blogger tag closely behind.
The business community, especially in the United States, has been scampering to get a business pie out of social networking. Facebook, for instance, launched its initial public offering (IPO) in May this year and immediately reached a peak market capitalization of over $104 billion, the biggest so far in internet history regarded by media pundits as a “cultural touchstone.” In the same vein, the advertising community is now on its way to tilting towards social networking largely because of what they call “momentum effect” in advertising which is called by young people as “the viral effect” in social media.
At the First Catholic Social Media Summit, the taunt was, “if celebrities, the likes of Lady Gaga, could swing millions of likes to social networks and deliver massive impact to their followers, why not the Church?” But of course the Church has been on this from day one. Manila Archbishop Antonio Luis Tagle, for instance, who was the keynote speaker at the media summit has a Facebook with almost a hundred thousand likes. And remarkably so is 100% Katolikong Pinoy with over a Hundred and Fifty Thousand following that get a daily dispatch of the gospel readings and saints of the day, among others. Not to mention the CBCP Media Office’s Good Morning CBCP and CBCP News in both Facebook and Twitter that deliver daily dose of news and feature stories to thousands of its avid followers.
A good example is the latest pastoral letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on the Era of New Evangelization. Although it did not get the million trending of the First Catholic Social Media Summit and the “I Like Pedro Calungsod,” it reverberated far and wide in social media networks like no pastoral letter of the CBCP has ever been before.
The social media is both an alarm and a challenge. But for those in the realm of the new evangelization, the social media is an opportunity that evangelizers the likes of St. Paul will dare even in the thick of a stiff-necked areopagus.
Peace and Active Non-Violence
AS Church we must show the way of justice and love, in solidarity with all but particularly the poor and the weak, in the building of peace. The kingdom to be proclaimed by Jesus is not a Kingdom to be imposed by the force of arms. It is a Kingdom to be built by love, the love of the suffering servant. Love bears peace by way of peace. Peace cannot be equated with the absence of war nor with a certain balance of power. It is a harmony in the human heart and in the social order brought about by justice, requiring respect for human dignity and human rights, the promotion of the common good by one and all, and the constant practice of solidarity. Peace is likewise “the fruit of love which goes beyond what justice can provide. In the final analysis, the real peace we must seek is the Lord’s because he Himself is our peace.
The context of our socio-economic and political situation today is partly once of violence and counter-violence, institutionalized or otherwise. In such a context it is easy to succumb to the temptation to use conflict as the means to liberation. But history teaches that “there are sources of progress other than conflict namely love and right. This priority of love in history draws other Christians to prefer the way of non-violent action….Non-violence is a quality of the love of Jesus Christ. So radically new was his love that he obliged his followers: “Love your enemies.”
The 1971 Synod of Bishops, therefore, urged the Church to foster “a strategy of non-violence.” Peaceful but persuasive rallies, assemblies, marches, demonstrations, strikes and acts of “passive resistance” to unjust laws can be very effective even if non-violent. A strategy of non-violence requires solidarity of spirit as well as of action. For this reason, we reemphasize the lesson of our recent historic liberating moment. The active non-violence of ‘people power” in 1986 begot freedom. The move towards a “gunless society” advocated by many concerned Filipinos is illustrative of the strategy and of the spirit of active non-violence.
Recourse to armed violence as a method to bring about social transformation cannot be justified in the present situation. “The road to total liberation is not the way of violence, class struggle or hate; it is the way of love, brotherhood and peaceful solidarity.
To remove social ills, active non-violence is our moral countersign to the ideologist of today that espouse armed violence to change the status quo. It is likewise our moral countersign to the ideologies that institutionalize violence in order to preserve the status quo. We consider the peaceful alternative as a mandate of evangelical discipleship. (Acts of the Council, nos. 307-311)
―Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 1991
Vol. 16 No. 15, July 16-29, 2012
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