Bishop Ronald Herzog

Bishop Ronald Herzog

November 29, 2010

Social media is not only here to stay but should be recognized and used as a "new form of pastoral ministry," U.S. bishops were told Nov. 15 in their annual meeting.

"Social media is proving itself to be a force with which to be reckoned.

If not, the Church may be facing as great a challenge as that of the Protestant Reformation," said Bishop Ronald Herzog of Alexandria, La., a member of the bishops' Committee on Communications, in an address to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual meeting in Baltimore.

Herzog noted that although social media has been around for less than 10 years, it is "causing as fundamental a shift in communication patterns and behaviour as the printing press did 500 years ago. I don't think I have to remind you of what happened when the Catholic Church was slow to adapt to that new technology," he told the bishops.