The Catholic Church and technology have always been at odds with each other. Right?
Wrong! Not only have they never been enemies, in fact, without the Church we would live in a world bereft of much of the technological marvels that we take for granted.
Imagine a planet just like our own, on which Saint Benedict was crushed by a rockfall before he could become the founder of Western Monasticism. Suppose that no one took his place, and the monasteries that did exist decayed and disbanded. That bright flower of civilization that the Benedictines preserved through the dark ages – the methods of cultivation, irrigation, metallurgy, astronomy, medicine, art, and above all the written word – wavered and went out. The monasteries would never become the grounding for the great European universities that would come later.
On this planet there would arise at some point, no doubt, some kind of ersatz version of the intellectual and technological tradition we enjoy today, but without the crucial bridge between antiquity and modernity that the Church alone held, they would be behind us by hundreds of years of progress.
There would be no flag on the moon (assuming this planet had a moon). There would be no iPhone. There would be no football on the television. There might not even be any beer!
When you consider the ramifications of removing the Church from the equation even as recently as the 7th century, it’s pretty clear that not only are the Church and technology not at each others throats (like some secular media would have you believe) in fact they are inextricably linked.
The idea of the Church suppressing new technology is a new one. And it’s one that doesn’t just affect popular perception – it’s also crept into the Catholic understanding. We need to approach technology sensibly, with caution but not fear.
To that end, I’ve created Connected Catholic, an email list for Catholics (and the Catholic-adjacent) who are interested in how we can interact with technology in an edifying way.
If this sounds interesting to you, I’d love if you’d go ahead and check it out at connectedcatholic.email. And if you know of someone who might also be interested, pass it along!
Looking forward to it,
Published on October 28th, 2015