Posts Tagged ‘pope’
Despite all the noise surrounding Pope Benedict’s resignation, we will doubtless see the same arcane processes in the choosing of the next Pope, highlighting all the inadequacies of the Catholic brand at a time when it is weaker than ever. Betting websites are already placing odds on who the next Pope is going to be, and the secretive internal processes framed by smoke signals will only intensify the media focus on all the negatives.
It is curious that religious figures are not doing more to embrace the popular media, crafting a popular character to lead the church into the 21st century. Pope John Paul II was always going to be a difficult media act to follow but Benedict’s resignation still comes as a surprise. Pope Benedict’s abdication provides a mixed opportunity to reinvigorate Catholic communications and to create a stronger figurehead.
It’s nearly Christmas, the snow lies heavy on much of Britain in astonishingly traditional fashion, causing less astonishing but no less traditional mayhem, chaos and panic. But, given the last year, one can almost understand why there is panic. The weather may hark back to the past but the world moves on into the future at an astonishing rate.
This has, without doubt, been an extraordinary, tumultuous year, a year in which the cliché of the water cooler moment has been reinvented time and time again by a clamouring horde of news stories, each more consuming and captivating than the last. Read the rest of this entry »
Before the Papal three-ring-circus moved into town, I was asked by a number of media outlets what I thought of the Pope’s PR apparatus. At the time, I commented that it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this anachronistic throwback was not fit for modern media purpose. Lacking charisma (in stark contrast with his predecessor, John Paul II), I suggested that Benedict would find it difficult to counter the unease at his tour of Britain. I suggested he was not “God’s Showman” – not instinctively sharp, witty or insightful and with a poor history in delivering the one-liners and sound bites that are the foundation of being a 21st century media success. Read the rest of this entry »
So, an über-Cardinal in Rome feels that it’s time for a generation to detox from technology. Forget fasting for lent, the Pope’s publicist has floated a story that we all need to curb our technology obsession and digital addiction. “Thou shalt not text or play games for lent” is the missive from the Vatican. Transformational storytelling it’s not.
I think the Supreme Being will be pulling cosmic hairs out of his signature big white beard with frustration. This sort of reactionary fundamentalism is plain silly. The Catholic Church is missing a trick. They need to embrace the myriad of platforms available and use them. If the church was to think creatively about what could be achieved by hooking up to the gaming universe, mobiles and social networking sites, it might just become relevant.
I am not suggesting a repeat of some of the stunts that have emanated from the odd funky priest – sermons in txt or text voting for hymn choices. No, I propose something much more immersive; to use church buildings and communities as the springboard for a major digital rethink.
Get the game play right for a religiously themed Xbox game and think about the potential of communicating with groups of gamers. What about apps on Facebook and iPhone? There’s a whole generation out there that any religion that wants to try can only reach by becoming digital missionaries.
The Vatican needs to grasp vitality and stop proffering a hair shirt!