2012-07-07

Addendum to the Rules for Social Media...

Earlier this week the USCCB provided a blog post on the The Gospel and Social Media. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf generalized the blog post into a list of rules. I provide the condensed list to combat white space. Emphasis mine:

1. Translate church teaching. [Know your audience, Don't fall into heresy while attempting to 'translate'. Popular speech does not always convey the sacred.]

2. Avoid church speak. [Know your audience. Some words cannot be replaced without changing the meaning of the message. Some people will find offense no matter how you attempt to phrase innocent honest speech.]

3. Use images, as Jesus did. [Know your audience. It is good to imitate Christ. I don't remember Jesus ever making things less clear with His explanations, but He certainly knew His audience.]

4. Understand that social media is social. [Um hmm...]

5. Social media sometimes calls for a suit of armor. [See #4]

6. Use the delete button if comments cross the line of decency, but, hopefully, not often. [comment deleted]

7. Spread Catholicism’s fun parts. ['Fun parts' or what might be known as the 'treasures of our faith'. For example, share lives of the saints that inspire virtue. Be sure not to treat adults like children.]

8. Remember rules are changing. [This certainly sums it up.]

9. Remember web messages live forever. [Not to be confused with being naked. It is true, don't sin on the internet, or at all for that matter. On a side note, someone should let our Holy Father know that the pictures of him hoisting a beer are still floating around the internet.]

10. Keep it short. [There is supreme value in being able to take that which provides complex philosophical ponderings, and reduce it to only the critically essential; therefore, remembering the ideals of briefness to which we subscribe, let us make every effort to curtail our words, our sentences, in short, our very paragraphs, that both the former and the latter may be quickened for the sake of our dear reader, his friends, and co-workers.]

While reading the comments on Fr. Z's post, I came across an addendum to the rules written by Jason Pascucci. I find the additional rules less obvious, but specific and practical for use by the Catholic social media users. Again, emphasis is mine.

11. Don’t eviscerate the truth in an attempt to be popular. It is the hard parts and hard sayings of being a follower of Jesus are what make it compelling to the soul.

These two go together:
12a. Avoid respect of persons.
12b. Ignore people who say “judge not lest ye be judged” as if it covered all criticism. We’ve been instructed to “judge with right judgement”. As with Aquinas, above: look for causes rather than at persons.

13. All heresy begins in disproportion of related truths. Avoid being disproportionate. Being silent on a topic which ought to be spoken of is a sin of omission against truth, if you are in a position to speak rightly and fully.

14. Niceness is not a Catholic virtue, indeed it is opposed to such. Kindness is, as is gentleness and longanimity, which are fruits of the Holy Spirit. Know the difference between those and 'nice'’.

15. Avoid adhering to those who gain approbation from "the world" or are lionized by it: chances are very high they are doing something wrong. If they are hated by “the world”, chances are they’re more reliable. It’s not an infalliable guide, but you’ll go less wrong.

16. The enemy of your enemy is probably not your friend, as it’s very possible to error on both extremes.

These two go together:
17a. Don’t mess with people who cite the Fathers, the Councils, and the Saints as authorities. Chances are, they’re right. Indeed, when dealing with other Catholics, do use this form of "Church speak".
17b. Conversely, people who quote a lay or Jesuit theologian from the last century as an authority on any topic are probably wrong. Don’t do that.

18. There is a licit range of theological opinion on many topics pertaining to the Faith. Sometimes it's wider, but these days, it’s usually vastly narrower than the range generally presented. (Pro-tip: "Tantamount to heresy" is not within the licit range.)

19. The roots of the 'liberal/conservative' split lie in modern philosophy. They are both wrong, because modern philosophy is profoundly broken. GBTA (Get back to Aristotle).

20. Don’t be humble because it is becoming and makes a good and attractive outward appearance. Be humble because you’re a sinner and too often a complete doof.

21. Don’t do theology in a state of serious or mortal sin: your mind is darkened by your illicit acts. Go to confession. They aren’t kidding about this stuff.

22. Avoid intellectual mollities: don’t overreact to the presentation, make sure you understand the heart of the matter.

For more content from Mr. Pascucci, please visit his blog: "Ex-Couchthedra"

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