We are living in a cultural shift: digital communication has reshaped the way we interact with one another, form and maintain relationships, and gain knowledge and understanding. How might we go about communicating the Good News of Jesus Christ in the midst of these changes to an emerging culture shaped by digital media? This question addresses the whole church, from the baptized faithful to pastoral ministers and the institutional structures that serve the church locally and globally.
In Connected toward Communion, Daniella Zsupan-Jerome traces the Roman Catholic Church's contemporary thought and practice of social communication, from Inter Mirifica of the Second Vatican Council to the church's approach to communicating faith through social networking today. Throughout, a key question forms a common thread: how might we form pastoral ministers today for serving the church in the digital age and beyond?
Daniella Zsupan-Jerome is a member of the faculty at Loyola University New Orleans, teaching in the areas of ecclesiology, sacramental theology, liturgical theology, religious education, and pastoral studies at the Loyola Institute for Ministry. She is a contributor to Give Us This Day published by Liturgical Press.
An excellent introduction to the primary Vatican documents relating to communication, this concise little book offers highly pertinent reflections on the connection between pastoral practice and the power of communication. A very useful addition to parish, undergraduate, and seminary theological engagement with contemporary ministry.
Mary E. Hess, PhD, Professor of Educational Leadership, Luther Seminary
"A positive contribution to the ongoing dialogue between Catholic thought and the rapidly changing technological frontier. The book offers an overview of the major ecclesial documents pertaining to social communication and the Internet from Vatican II forward."
Jonathan F. Sullivan, Catholic Library World
"Of interest to both an academic and a nonacademic audience, this book offers a clear, accessible analysis of Catholic teaching on social communication, reflecting on how its views shape ministerial formation in the digital culture. As our digital culture continues to develop, Zsupan‐Jerome's book offers valuable insights that will further reflection on how these developments shape pastoral realities and activities."
Stefanie Knauss, Villanova University
With this gem, Dr. Zsupan-Jerome is filling a lacuna in the literature regarding Catholic digital communications. Her theological review-written in a style accessible to the average reader-provides a concise analysis of the church's teachings regarding modern social communications, with practical recommendations for digital natives, immigrants, and missionaries. Bishops and academics, pastors and catechists, seminarians and Catholic media professionals, and others will find Connected toward Communion: The Church and Social Communication in the Digital Age to be a valuable resource in their ministry.
Helen Osman, Secretary of Communications, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
"Zsupan‐Jerome offers effective and contemporary advice concerning media literacy and builds her argument from a clear conviction that `human formation is a salient activity when it comes to media, as media are rooted in communication—an essentially relational activity.' This book is an excellent introduction for Roman Catholics to the major documents in this subject area."
Mary E. Hess, Interpretation
"This readable book analyzes Church teaching on social communication beginning with Inter Mirifica, the decree from the Second Vatican Council on social communication, to recent papal letters for World Communications Day. One of the most valuable aspects of the book is the emphasis on the formation of pastoral ministers for the digital age. Again and again, Zsupan-Jerome insists that pastoral ministers need to learn how to navigate and use the new tools for social communication."
"Connected Toward Communion provides a clarion call for the faithful to lay claim to the tools that are transforming the environment, and in the process, ensure our proper formation as well."
Brett Robinson, Church Life Journal
Not all that far into Connected toward Communion I paused my reading to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for this extraordinary book. In a text that's blessedly devoid of thick theological or church jargon, Daniella Zsupan-Jerome shows how digital culture supports rather than undermines our human longing for connection. Her clear and thorough analysis of key documents reveals the Vatican's longstanding commitment to a theology of communications anchored in Christ and transcending particular forms of time- and technology-bound media. I believe Connected toward Communion should be required reading for all ministers and church leaders across and beyond denominational boundaries.
Meredith Gould, PhD, author of The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways
Professor Zsupan-Jerome does an admirable job in bringing the church's theology of communication and teaching on communication, largely developed for an era of mass media, to bear on the world of social media. She offers a great resource for those who wish to reflect theologically on communication. Connected toward Communion will prove invaluable for students, for media professionals in the church, and for anyone engaging in online religion.
Paul A. Soukup, SJ, Professor and Department Head, Communication Department, Santa Clara University