CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 16 December 2017

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Social media award

MANILA (UCAN): Argentinean Father Luciano Ariel Felloni, from the urban poor community of Novaliches in Manila, has been recognised as the Social Media Influencer of the Year by the Catholic Social Media Awards for his work in drawing attention to drug-related extrajudicial killings in The Philippines.
 
Father Felloni said on November 21 that he is able to use social media to explain the contribution the Church can make to the effort against drug use and distribution.
 
Known in Manila for his Healing not Killing community-based rehabilitation programme, he is one of several people who have become the target of online criticism over their vocal opposition to the blood splurge ordered by the president, Rodrigo Duterte.
 
“By using social media to explain that our work has no political colour and that it is our contribution to the war against drugs, people change their opinion, they understand,” the Argentinian priest said.
 
However, he explained that dealing with trolls is a different matter. “They are paid to attack,” Father Felloni pointed out.
 
“Ignore the trolls, it is obvious that they are fake,” he advised, while at the same time emphasising that people of other opinions should also be heard.
 
A troll is Internet slang for somebody who sows discord by inserting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages into an online community.
 
At the Catholic Social Media Summit prior to award night on November 18, Bishop Pablo David described the tactic of the troll as shooting the messenger while ignoring the message.
 
They have been attacking Church leaders who have been vocal against the government war on drugs. Bishops and priests have been accused of corruption and sex abuse. “The truth hurts,” Bishop David said. “But it sets people free.”
 
Both Father Felloni and Bishop David said that instead of shying away from trolls and those who attack the Church online, it should be looked at as an opportunity.
 
“If you don’t react to these statements, soon they become like gospel truth,” the bishop explained. “Truth has become a more serious concern in the context of so much untruth in things that we hear or read.”
 
He added that online bashing will always be there, but good work must continue in explaining that he uses social media to correct “soundbites that are quickly accepted if they are not corrected.” Otherwise he said the result is a death of the conscience.

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