Pope Benedict gave a qualified blessing to social networking on Monday, praising its potential but warning that online friendships are no substitute for real human contact. The 83-year-old pontiff, who does not have his own Facebook account, set out his views in a message with a weighty title that would easily fit into a tweet: “Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age”.
He said the possibilities of new media and social networks offered “a great opportunity,” but warned of the risks of depersonalisation, alienation, self-indulgence, and the dangers of having more virtual friends than real ones.
“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,” Benedict said in the message for the Catholic Church’s World Day of Communications.
He urged users of social networks to ask themselves “Who is my ‘neighbour’ in this new world?” and avoid the danger of always being available online but being “less present to those whom we encounter in our everyday life“.
via The Globe and Mail.