Social networks dedicated to particular causes and interests are experiencing a revival, and one natural unifying element is religion. With that in mind, a private group of lay Catholics (i.e., not directly affiliated with the Vatican) have launched a new global social network for Catholics called Aleteia.org; the name, pronounced “ah-la-tay-ah,” comes from the Greek word for truth.
The site’s mission is to bring together believers and share the “best answers to questions to peoples’ questions about faith, life, and society,” and ultimately aims to be a reference source for not only the general public but also journalists, opinion leaders, and others. It consists of three complementary parts: first, a network which brings together Catholic and ecumenical partners, for example from the media, ecclesiastical movements, and institutions, as well as individuals, including members, contributors, and experts, to identify and select content; second, a collaborative platform for disseminating knowledge to provide answers to commonly-asked questions; and third, an evangelizing component carried out by the Internet community, including missionary activity on other social networks and, of course, the real world.
The grunt work to create Aleteia.org has been carried out by a group of 37 technologists and journalists, drawing on the expertise of an editorial committee of 200 experts, with support from more than 1,000 Catholic institutions, media outlets, and individuals located in 15 countries around the world. The site’s founders note that, despite the church’s universal mission, until now most existing Web sites and networks for believers have a national or local focus. Aleteia.org is currently published in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Arabic.
Aleteia chairman Jesus Colina stated: “The digital revolution is changing the world and we must ensure that the proclamation of the Gospel adapts to this new context… Today, there are a multitude of good Christian media sources stemming from individuals, parishes, ecclesiastical movements, and dioceses around the world, but these media outlets have resources and thus audiences that are far smaller than the international media that are shaping modern culture. Christian voices and ideas must be part of the public debate on an equal footing. The aleteia network is an attempt to respond to this challenge.”