UGCC issues instructions regarding web-presence of Church bodies and clergy
This is reported by the UGCC Information Department.
The Instruction was approved for a three-year trial period starting on August 3, 2020, by Resolution No. 2 of the 85th session of the Synod of Bishops of the Kyiv-Galician Supreme Archbishopric of the UGCC.
The document contains specific instructions on the rules for maintaining private and institutional profiles in social networks by clergymen and laymen.
The manual consists of an introduction, final provisions, and seven sections: “Internet as a tool for the evangelization of society”, “Social media functions”, “Principles for maintaining institutional profiles”, “Principles for maintaining individual accounts and profiles”, “Social media etiquette”, “Activities in groups in social networks” and “Behavior in social media during election campaigns”.
The document notes that “it should help network users avoid falling into the trap of a frivolous attitude to the virtual world.”
“In addition to the clergy and monastics, a significant part of the provisions of this Instruction is binding for lay people working in Church structures, institutions or other legal or de facto relations with them according to their government or functions, as well as for members of the priest's family, because they participate in the mission of the Church of Christ in the modern world,” the Instruction says.
The document also talks about the rules of etiquette in social networks. "Although a personal profile is a "private territory", there are things that, according to experts, negatively affect the perception of a person's image in the social network. Here's what you should not do: mark people in your notes and publish audio, photo and video materials with their participation without their consent; you should not send one personal message to all social networks at once; before introducing people to social networks, you must get their prior consent to such an acquaintance; you can not bring a personal conflict with the other clergy, hierarchy, parishioners, and so on to the discussion in the social network," the authors of the document are convinced.
According to the Instructions, it is forbidden for the clergy to carry out both direct and indirect campaigning for a candidate, party or political bloc.
"Indirect campaigning is the mention of a person's name or the name of a political force not in direct connection with an election, but in a context that should incline the recipient of the message to casting their vote for that person or party during the election (gratitude for a donation, praise for a campaign, etc.)," the document explains. It is also not recommended that the clergymen take part in political talk shows, except with the express permission of their local hierarch, and all the more so to promote them on their account.
The document notes that the violation of certain of its rules is subject to appropriate sanctions.
"Within 30 days from the date of entry into force of this Instruction, clergy, monastics, Church bodies and institutions must adapt all profiles in social networks to the requirements of this normative document,” the document emphasizes.