MANILA, March 16, 2015—The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) has invited young Filipinos, especially those with strong social media presence, to become “agents of peace” by actively cultivating a culture of positivity both online and offline.
In a recent interview, CBCP-ECY executive secretary Fr. Conegundo B. Garganta told Church-run Radyo Veritas the young faithful must do their part in paving the way for a social environment that is more conducive to peace and harmony, and one which leaves no room for extremist ideologies.
“One way we can do this is to show our youth they have other, better options they can choose from so that they are least likely to get swayed by extremist elements,” he said.
According to him, social media is an instrument everyone can take advantage of to push for advocacies that are pro-life and pro-solidarity.
Fight for Christian values
Moreover, Garganta called on adults to stand up for family and life, and to back programs, which aim to protect Christian values as well as those that fight for unity and peace worldwide.
The priest made this statement amid reports that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) exploits social networking sites in order to recruit young people to its ranks.
An CBS News article notes this is part of a high-tech propaganda machine ISIS has developed to reach out to militants in Europe, Canada, and the United States.
It says the terror group now has its own multilingual media arm, Al Hayat, which produces and distributes glossy magazines and slick videos.
To appeal to Western eye, ISIS even uses drones and GoPros, with a “mujatweet,” a short promotional video, showing a “softer side of jihad.”
One such video shows a Belgian giving away ice cream to Syrian children.
Another recruitment video released recently stars two deaf and mute fighters using sign language in a bid to entice physically impaired individuals into joining the group.
Pope Francis had repeatedly condemned ISIS, more recently after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in Libya in February “simply for the fact they were Christians.”
“The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard,” Radio Vaticana quoted the Pope as saying.
“It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ,” he added. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)