You know how the internet is a feeding trough for trolls and similarly rude creatures? Well, fear no more, because His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI is taking a firm stance against online vitriol to deliver a powerful message to Catholics who have taken the YouTubecarist.
First, for all of you who were wondering if going on Facebook was a mortal sin, relax. The Pope approves of the site. But he did warn Catholics to be careful when they are online, saying the following:
I would like then to invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible.
Here’s the thing. I’m sure this would have been newsworthy 2-3 years ago, but pretty much everyone is online nowadays. It’s how business gets done, how people interact and share information with each other. I doubt anyone but the most loyal Catholic was waiting for the Pope to make his position on the internet clear.
Not that he didn’t have anything meaningful to say. His Holiness actually make some interesting points about the isolation the internet drives some of us to. Here’s the part that really resonated with me.
The new technologies allow people to meet each other beyond the confines of space and of their own culture, creating in this way an entirely new world of potential friendships. This is a great opportunity, but it also requires greater attention to and awareness of possible risks. Who is my ‘neighbour’ in this new world? Does the danger exist that we may be less present to those whom we encounter in our everyday life? Is there is a risk of being more distracted because our attention is fragmented and absorbed in a world ‘other’ than the one in which we live? Do we have time to reflect critically on our choices and to foster human relationships which are truly deep and lasting? It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives.
Very true indeed. After all, Mass would be no fun if people could just video conference in.