Philippine priests swap sermons for 'selfies' as Church seeks to stay relevant
MANILA (AFP) - For some of the Philippines' most powerful clergymen, stepping off the pulpit and into cyberspace felt impossibly daunting until they took their first "selfies" and posted them on Facebook.
Their initial forays into the brave new virtual world took place in a groundbreaking class for 50 of the Philippines' top bishops and monsignors in Manila earlier this month, part of the Catholic Church's strategy to remain relevant in the digital age.
Mr Sean-Patrick Lovett, a programme director with Vatican Radio who flew in from Rome to lead the seminar, said Social Media 101 had not been taught to such a group of senior Church figures anywhere in the world before and he was surprised by his students' reactions.
"I've never seen bishops so happy and so excited. They were taking pictures of themselves and putting them on Facebook," Mr Lovett told AFP after the three-hour session, which saw the priests partner with younger, more tech-savvy seminarians or nuns to show them the ropes.