Bishop Robert Barron has said that bishops should consider an official designation for Catholic teachers on social media. Barron is himself well known for his work promoting Catholic teaching online.
In an interview with the National Catholic Register last week, the auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles said he believes it is within the scope of a diocesan bishop’s authority to apply a vetting and recognition process for online teachers of the faith, similar to the mechanism Pope St. John Paul II developed in the 1990 apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae for colleges and universities.
“There are, to be blunt, a disconcerting number of such people on social media who are trading in hateful, divisive speech, often deeply at odds with the theology of the Church and who are, sadly, having a powerful impact on the people of God,” he said to the Register in a feature on social media that was published Jan. 24.
The bishops, said Barron, are “the shepherds of the Church, those entrusted with supervising the teaching office,” and they “can and should point out when people on social media are harming the Body of Christ.”
In order to combat online misinformation online from people claiming to represent what the Church teaches, Barron told the Register that perhaps he and his brother bishops could “introduce something like a mandatum for those who claim to teach the Catholic faith online, whereby a bishop affirms that the person is teaching within the full communion of the Church.”
While some websites denounced Barron’s suggestion as an attempt to “police” Catholics on social media, the bishop’s proposal was narrowly drawn to apply to those presenting themselves as teachers or Catholic theologians on social media.
The above comes from a Jan. 29 story on the website of the Catholic News Agency.