I recently learned that both the Mormon and Catholic churches have launched their own channels on YouTube. The LDS channel, Mormon Messages was recently showcased on the Church's website. The Vatican's channel was introduced by Pope Benedict XVI last month.
The Pope's message introducing the channel was titled New Technologies, New Relationships: Promoting a Culture of Respect. This speech is comfortingly similar to LDS Apostle M. Russell Ballard's widely-circulated 2007 talk Using New Media to Promote the Work of the Church. I've chosen just a few examples that show just how closely these Mormon and Catholic leaders view our changing media environment:
Pope Benedict: "The new digital technologies are, indeed, bringing about fundamental shifts in patterns of communication and human relationships. These changes are particularly evident among those young people who have grown up with the new technologies and are at home in a digital world that often seems quite foreign to those of us who, as adults, have had to learn to understand and appreciate the opportunities it has to offer for communications."
Elder Ballard: "How different your world is today. If you read newspapers, the chances are you read them on the Internet. Yours is the world of cyberspace, cell phones that capture video, video downloads and iTunes, social networks like Facebook, text messaging and blogs, hand-helds and podcasts. As many in my generation are just getting onto email, that’s already becoming old hat to most of you. "
* * *
Pope Benedict: "If the new technologies are to serve the good of individuals and of society, all users will avoid the sharing of words and images that are degrading of human beings, that promote hatred and intolerance, that debase the goodness and intimacy of human sexuality or that exploit the weak and vulnerable."
Elder Ballard: "Satan is always quick to exploit the negative power of new inventions, to spoil and to degrade and to neutralize any effect for good. Make sure that the choices you make in the use of new media are choices that expand your mind, increase your opportunities, and feed your soul."
* * *
Pope Benedict: "Dear Brothers and Sisters, I ask you to introduce into the culture of this new environment of communications and information technology the values on which you have built your lives."
Elder Ballard: "Talk honestly and sincerely about the impact the gospel has had in your life, how has it helped you overcome weaknesses or challenges, and helped define your values."
* * *
Pope Benedict: "It would be sad if our desire to sustain and develop on-line friendships were to be at the cost of our availability to engage with our families, our neighbours and those we meet in the daily reality of our places of work, education and recreation. If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development."
No comparable quote from Elder Ballard on this one but this Mormon-produced YouTube video pretty much says the same thing: