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!