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The Evolving Face of Catholicism

The majority of religions have their roots based in ancient scripture and teachings, and as such are fairly inflexible in various aspects of their culture. However, as technology and accepted knowledge has advanced at an increasing pace, so too many religions have sought to adapt and reflect a more contemporary mindset. While this has been  generally considered as beneficial and a significant step in religions  maintaining their relevance, it has been questioned in some circles as distasteful and opposed to religious values.
Catholicism is an example of a religion that has long since been considered as  inflexible and archaic in its values, until recent times have seen it evolve to cater to a more contemporary view of existence. In addition to  modifying its views on abortion and marital union, it has also begun to communicate with followers through Facebook and other social media sites,  creating a modern version of the faith that is far removed from its previous incarnation.
Religion and Social Media

The link between Catholicism and social media began in earnest last September, as the Pope visited the UK and the church used the medium to publicize the trip and its details.  It has since retained this page and advanced the presence further, creating an additional layout to promote the  Pope’s impending beatification in May of this year.  This is one of the most significant instances of an established and major religion utilizing online media to reach out to their followers, and has prompted mixed emotions in response.
For some, religions using social media to communicate with their followers is a reflection of an independents faith willingness to change, and move in a positive direction with technological advancement. However, to more traditional religious subscribers it is an inappropriate act, as the platform of social media is an unsuitable conduit for religious values and principles. This may seem a little extreme, but it is a serious concern amongst long term followers of  a religious faith.
This is largely to do with the status of social media as a source of remote interaction and its links with online or casual romance., as well as its  role as a commercial and advertising interface. The concepts of casual romance and  commercialism  are strongly opposed to those which define religion and especially Catholicism, and it is this contrast of principles which creates the contention for those concerned with the direction and orientation of their faith.
An Evolution of Faith
This is merely a small indication of how the Catholic faith is continuing to
evolve, and perhaps more surprising are the modifications that have been made to  their attitudes and principles of faith. They have gradually changed their attitudes to serious issues like abortion and diversity, creating a faith which lends itself more readily to the demands and circumstances of contemporary life. This involves a more relaxed ethos in terms of its perception, and also a more welcoming approach to marriages between alternate faiths.
All together, we can see a religion that is now attempting to cultivate a balance, both in terms of its identity and the way in which it communicates with its followers.  This equilibrium is sought to sustain the faiths relevance amongst an increasingly knowledgeable and liberal  society,  in order to ensure that their message can still be heard and understood amidst a growing sense of scepticism. However, to many this attempt to  reach a wider audience  with a more contemporary message is misplaced,  and serves only to dilute the  core principles of the faith to a point where it becomes increasingly unrecognizable.
This issue also highlights the vast contradiction between contemporary values and the traditions of Catholicism, which continues to intensify with the vast past of technological and ideological advancement. Therefore, it becomes increasingly harder for the faith to adapt to appeal to a new generation of citizens, or at least to do without rendering its core principles irrelevant. As it attempts to do so however, it also serves to isolate may of its traditional followers and those who adhere to traditional Catholic principles.
A Necessary Evil?
For those who remain sceptical of the modern orientation of Catholicism and its outlets, there is a danger that they are missing the point of the faith and its message. For it or any religion to prosper, and to continue to remain relevant amongst ever evolving circumstances, they must themselves change to meet the ideals of a new generation. While this must be done without being at the expense of the faith’s significant values, it is also required to at least be flexible and modify its outlook as information and knowledge emerges. This may not sit well with purists or traditional Catholics, but it must be considered a necessary evil to ensure that the message of the faith can continue to be dispersed.

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Navaid I. Syed is the owner and CEO of / ExcitingAds! Inc. He is a medical doctor and was born in Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan, on July 31, 1964. He graduated from Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Sind, Pakistan, in 1990. He is Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Philadelphia, PA, USA, certified.

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  33. Tim D., I follow you, but its not a false dichotomy. The world works this way. Its a self-evident principle of logic. Things are either A or non-A. So, a worldview, for example, is either Christian or it is not Christian. (You can substitute any worldview in for Christian.)

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