Prot. N. 751/2020
Rome, October 22, 2020
Ministers Provincial and Custodes
Dear Ministers Provincial and Custodes,
May the Lord give you peace!
With this letter, we are sending you the General Guidelines for the Preparation of Provincial or Custodial Directories on the Use of New Media. This document was mandated by Motion No. 7 of the the 2019 General Chapter, which reads:
To facilitate the observance of the Constitutions, art. 66 §3, the Minister General with his Definitory, independently or by means of a special Committee, shall implement: a reflection on the new media used by the friars and establish guidelines (CIC can. 666), if possible, by the end of 2021, that can clearly and unequivocally guide the use of these instruments, providing for integration at the local level by the Provinces and Custodies, (Const. art. 66 §4), if possible, by the end of 2022, and continuous updating due to the ongoing evolution of this phenomenon.
To implement this mandate of the 2019 General Chapter, the Minister General set up a commission to prepare a first draft of the text. The draft was revised by the Coordinating Committee of the Six-Year Plan of the Order. Then it was reworked by the commission and was finally submitted to the General Definitory for its approval.
The General Definitory approved the text of the Guidelines during its session held July 23, 2020.
In keeping with this Chapter Motion, its implementation now passes to the local Jurisdictions. In fact, each Jurisdiction is required to prepare its own Directory on the Use of New Media, “by the end of 2022.” The General Guidelines must therefore be integrated with the local norms specific to each Province and Custody.
Provinces and Custodies which already have directories on the use of new media can use the General Guidelines as a necessary tool for revising their directories. In fact, the Chapter Motion reiterates this point, stating that these directories require “continuous updating due to the ongoing evolution of this phenomenon.”
The Order’s 2019-2025 Six-Year Plan reminds us that our goal is “Conforming Ourselves to the Gospel to Become a Missionary Fraternity”. The Guidelines prepared in the Jurisdictions will take this direction as well. One aspect of conforming ourselves to the Gospel is being more humble and less exhibitionistic in order to become a fraternity, perhaps starting by turning off our cell phones during meals. Another aspect is missionary fraternity, for example, working as a community, rather than individually, to create outposts for preaching the Gospel online.
Go, my dear brothers, two by two (as a missionary fraternity), through different parts of the world (and also through different parts of the Internet), announcing peace to the people and penance for the remission of sins (for example, through the Gospel!) (cf. 1Cel 29; FF 366).
Friar Carlos A. TROVARELLI
Friar Tomasz SZYMCZAK