In an interview with the FAZ, Ruhr Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck praises our site as "an outstanding media portal that offers users high-quality text, audio and video contributions."
FAZ, 12.4.2010 – A fresh wind has been blowing through the Catholic world from the Ruhr region since Franz-Josef Overbeck, born in 1964, was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Essen last year. Overbeck is an intellectual of our time who has no fear of contact with modern means of communication. Bishop Overbeck, google yourself from time to time? Yes, I do this regularly. And how do you communicate with the Vatican? By SMS and e-mail? For me, it is natural to communicate by SMS and e-mail. Depending on the occasion and the person, I also contact a wide variety of people by letter and telephone. Does the internet, which Pope Benedict XVI. The fact that Myanmar has recently been compared to the "court of the Gentiles" of the Jerusalem Temple represents the last great missionary challenge for the Catholic Church? It is and remains one of the great tasks of the church to show people who do not know God or have forgotten him new ways to find God and to come into the community of the church. The Internet can also be a good help on this path, if used correctly. But for all its importance, it is no substitute for direct encounters and personal life testimony.IBut isn't it also the task of the church to keep a certain distance from this accelerated world and its accelerators?? Going to the people does not mean going along with everything that is bothering people today. In this sense, the discovery of slowness and the search for peace and quiet belongs to the tasks of the church. Therefore, what is important needs a special place, a special encounter and a special relationship. To cultivate this often means to put oneself at a distance from our world, which is undergoing many acceleration processes. So now, Rome wants priests to "make use of the possibilities of the new generation of audiovisual media (photo, video, blog, website)". Is there enough interest, capacity and competence in the priesthood?? In the meantime, there are many priests and other people working in the service of the Church who use the modern media with great naturalness and at the same time with alertness and the ability to differentiate in order to communicate the message of the Gospel to many people. In this context, many, especially among priests, have already discovered the importance of modern media for catechesis and so on, and use them as a matter of course. The interest is high, capacities and competences are gratifyingly many, this belongs to the contemporaneity of the church. Men of God are tasked with "giving a soul to the incessant communication stream of the Internet". What does the Holy Father mean by this? Communication is more than just conveying words, images and a variety of information. Communication has to do with "communio", community, in the literal sense of the word. To cultivate this and to make it serve people from an ethical point of view is one of the things that can touch the soul of man. Isn't the Internet perhaps soulless because it is the medium of absolute doubt? For every truth there is eventually a counter-truth. The problem you mention exists in every form of communication, because it is always medially conditioned. Christianity in particular is aware of this as the religion of logos. Doubt, by the way, is not an enemy of faith, but is part of it. Moreover, under today's conditions, the Christian message always passes through the critical moment of doubt in the sense of a cross-check. But we Christians are convinced that the truth of the Gospel can stand up to any test. However, large parts of the Internet seem not only secular, but decidedly anti-religious. Is it still possible to stand up to it? The world of the Internet offers a clear indication of the complexity and diversity of opinion in which every human being must prove himself today. In the course of its history, the church itself has gone through many phases in which it had to withstand decidedly anti-religious, anti-Christian and anti-church movements and was able to overcome them from within. The church relies on this power of the truth of the gospel, and I rely on it today as a matter of course. After all, there have been attempts to keep up for some time now. Your Essen diocese tweets diligently. The Archdiocese of Cologne has launched the "medien-tube" platform, which is intended to be "a kind of Catholic YouTube". Sermon recordings can be seen, and the number of views is usually not even in triple digits. In contrast, the press conference you gave after your appointment as diocesan bishop has already been viewed thousands of times on Youtube. Is it more important, then, to become involved in existing structures than to build parallel ones? It's a question of media strategy. Ultimately, on the Internet, every offer is just a click away from the next one. It is therefore certainly advisable to use different platforms and not to limit oneself to just one provider. For example, we have also posted videos on the media tube portal of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is also important to note that even on a portal such as Youtube, the majority of films are only viewed in small numbers. Incidentally, from the point of view not only of the Ruhr bishopric, Cologne Cathedral Radio has developed into an outstanding media portal that offers users high-quality text, audio and video contributions. But doesn't opening up to the new medium also have to mean opening up to a lifeworld that is now firmly connected to that medium? Wouldn't the Catholic Church then have to take new positions in some areas, such as sexuality?? The Catholic Church stands with its proclamation in the midst of life. For good reasons, connected with the Gospel and the tradition of our Church, we take very clear positions on essential ies of life. It is an opportunity to use the media to take positions, especially in the area of sexuality you mentioned, that most serve human dignity in the long run and the good of society and communion of all people. Here it is necessary to enter into an always clear discourse, without blurring the clear positions. Would an ecumenical web offer also be conceivable in the future?? The topics of ecumenism will certainly play a role, as will the important questions of the dialogue between religions. It is good to note the respective points of view. Only in this way can ecumenism as well as the dialogue of religions be meaningful and forward-looking. Incidentally, we are further along than you think. For example, there is a joint platform of the Catholic and Protestant churches that provides information about Christmas and Easter services throughout Germany. Things are moving forward! So when will you start blogging now? I cannot yet give you a concrete date a few weeks after I took office as Ruhr bishop. Blogging just to be there is not my thing anyway. However, I think that you will read from me.The questions were asked by Oliver Jungen.