Pope Gives Social Media ‘Thumbs Up’

Jan 24th, 2011 | By | Category: General, The New Media Update

Pope Benedict, in celebration of the Vatican’s annual World Day of Social Communications, today issued a message inviting Christians to “join the network of relationships” made possible by the digital era.

Benedict says “the truth of Christ is the full and authentic response to that human desire for relationship, communion and meaning,” which is reflected in the popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

While Pope Benedict himself is still in practice a fully analog communicator, said to write out his missives in longhand, the Vatican under his leadership has managed to dabble in new media over the past few years, including the launch of a YouTube channel , a Facebook app, and a website.

The Pope suggests that Catholics should:

  • Make good use of their presence in the digital world;
  • Not merely take part in social networks, but “contribute to the development of new and more complex intellectual and spiritual horizons, new forms of shared awareness;”
  • Engage in respectful and sensitive dialogue; and
  • Witness consistently, in one’s own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel.

What do you think of the Vatican’s stance on participation in, and use of, social networks?

Do you think other religious leaders take positions on the use of social networks and new media?

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