Edmund’s Friday F.A.S.T – How would Jesus use an iPhone?

– Edmund Adamus

How would Jesus use an iPhone?

“..reflecting on the significance of the new technologies, it is important to focus not just on their undoubted capacity to foster contact between people, but on the quality of the content that is put into circulation using these means.” – Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for World Communications Day 2009.

This week I attended a conference discussing how the Church embraces information technology in order to enhance it’s work of evangelization and catechesis.  A “no brainer” as they say! As Christians, we are both leaven in as well as inhabitants of the “digital continent” to coin a phrase of Pope Benedict.

However, like all created things we also know that besides being realistic about what’s harmful, damaging and downright evil on the internet and social media, we also rejoice in its tremendous potential for good. St Paul reminds us to test the spirits as to find something’s true origin and worthiness. So here’s a thought – When we think of the word “digital” , it might be helpful to bear in mind its Latin origin, digitus (i.e. finger).

In Sacred Scripture, the “finger of God’s right hand” is a sign of the Holy Spirit. Our family life and households and daily lives are filled with all the devices of modern communications literally and often at our finger tips 24/7. On one level, that’s fine, but only in so far as our use of them is truly ‘digital’ that is to say, symbolic of the finger of God’s right hand!

But how do we know the Spirit is involved in our use of the technology? St Paul tells us to fill our minds with everything noble good, true and beautiful, so the litmus test for measuring our use of technology is simple – just check the influence of it all against the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23  ” love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  Pope Benedict declared in 2009 that the new technologies which bring new ways of relating must promote “a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship”. If the fruits of the Spirit signified by these hallmarks are not part of our daily occupancy of the “digital continent”, then we must pray for the wisdom to know the difference and act on it.

Switch it off or switch redirect its purpose to strengthen your personal and family life.

– Edmund Adamus
Director, Office of Marriage and Family Life – Diocese of Westminster

Edmund’s Friday FAST: What Sound does an Authentic Marriage make?

Edmund Adamus
Edmund’s Friday F A S T – Family Actions – Spirituality Thoughts
During the last week, my little 5-year-old boy proudly brought home his first recorder. That distinctive [out of tune] tone that a child makes when they make that unmistakable shrill whistle in a first attempt to craft a tune out of an unfamiliar but ubiquitous wind instrument from school is something that many parents will know and hope it gets better even if it doesn’t mark the beginning of career in music!

But it got me thinking of the “sounds” of the home and the family that we wish our children and grandchildren, nephews and nieces to hear. Are they sounds of loving tones both in voice and gesture that we wish them to imbibe and absorb over time? Pope Francis, in addressing a major international conference on the universal and timeless value of marriage hosted in the Vatican this week (scroll down to ‘Events’ for details), spoke movingly of the need and right of children to a father and mother, ‘capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity.’
He also went on to say that despite ‘political notions’ that threaten marriage as the indispensable one flesh union of man and woman open to life, “family is an anthropological fact.”  Here is a clear and unambiguous message from the ‘Father’ of the family – that is the Church militant on earth.  It is not out of tune or out of key but resonant and unmistakable as to its full meaning and importance. As parents, do we consciously impart to our children at all times a consistent and unmistakable body of truths and gospel values that resonate and do not jar on the ear so to speak?  
We may not always, as we all commit sin and fall short of the ideal of love, which is why it’s important for parents to ask forgiveness from their children as appropriate.  But our overall message, our overall witness about the beauty and truth of male/female complementarity must never be un-mistaken or off-key.  As St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:8, “if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?”
So if we want our children to grow up to be “revolutionaries with courage to seek true and lasting love”, as Pope Francis put it, then the ambiance, and domestic cultural environment we make for them, becomes the critical place that will inspire them to the vocation of a lifelong, lasting and faithful marriage in their own turn. Most sensible people admit that the family is in deep crisis globally. But unless and until this crisis is seen with the same urgency that so many view the need for the protection of the natural environment – a simile that Pope Francis himself makes in the above speech – then the flourishing human ecology that the Pope calls for [a phrase first used by St. John Paul II in Centisimus Annus] simply will not come about at the pace and with the success God wills for us.  

We are coming to the end of the Church’s year with the triumphant Feast of Jesus Christ Universal King. Let’s pledge ourselves as families to approach that feast with new vigour, knowing that we serve the Lord who chose deliberately to make His divine sovereignty known for the first time at the union of a man and a woman – the wedding feast of Cana!  

– Edmund Adamus
Director, Office of Marriage and Family Life – Diocese of Westminster