Tech Talk with Lisa Hendey/Son Rise Morning Show (
On a recent episode of the Son Rise Morning Show, we discussed a proposal by the Vatican to police "Catholic" websites.
In the days following the end of the Synod of Bishops, this proposal has been one of the stories making the news. Some have called this "censorship." How did this topic arise?
  • The final document of the Synod of Bishops included a paragraph on this topic and the news immediately spread across twitter via numerous sources who tweet and blog on Catholic issues. (jump to the full paragraph on this topic)
  • The document acknowledges the challenges of today’s digital culture, but also recognizes that young people today are digital natives and that the Church must be present in these places online because young people find an authentic mission online.
What does the Final Document of the Synod of Bishops have to say about "mission in the digital environment”?
  • The document actually calls for a few proposals:
    • Establishment of offices or bodies for digital culture and evangelization at “appropriate levels"
    • These offices would promote the exchange and dissemination of good practices at a personal and community level
    • They would develop tools for digital education and evangelization
    • These offices could also manage certification systems for Catholic sites to counter the spread of fake news about the Church
The controversial part of this seems to be the idea to create a structure to avoid the dissemination of "fake news" about the Church. Is this possible, and what might this structure look like?
  • Catholic news sites have been asking themselves this question
  • Pope Francis used the theme "The truth will set you free. Fake news and journalism for peace” for his 2018 World Communications Day message
  • Certification of websites might look similar to a nihil obstat for a book or a “letter of Good Standing” offered by a Bishop to a Catholic speaker
As people of faith, what steps can and should we be taking to responsibly locate and share authentic news about the Catholic Church?
  • Pray daily for the wisdom and intercession of the Holy Spirit in our usage of digital technology
  • Consider the source, especially before sharing anything controversial or inflammatory
  • Look to local news sources such as your parish and diocesan communications
As we celebrate All Saints Day, any quick suggestions of great tech resources to learn about the saints?
  • Great resources at
  • Alexa “Saint of the Day” from Franciscan Media
  • Saint apps on iOS or google play - check reviews before installing

The paragraph about online oversight in the Synod's final document

Source: Final Document of the Synod of Bishops on Youth, Faith and Vocation Discernment (October 27, 2018)
The Synod hopes that in the Church appropriate offices or bodies for digital culture and evangelization are established at appropriate levels, which, with the indispensable contribution of young people, promote ecclesial action and reflection in this environment. Among their functions, in addition to promoting the exchange and dissemination of good practices at a personal and community level, and to develop adequate tools for digital education and evangelization, could also manage certification systems of Catholic sites, to counter the spread of  fake news  regarding the Church, or looking for ways to persuade public authorities to promote increasingly stringent policies and tools for the protection of minors on the web.
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Copyright 2018 Lisa Hendey