Courtesy of my talented guest blogger Jenn Burton
The 45th World Communications Day on June 5, 2011 has got Pope Benedict XVI thinking. Hey, Al Qaeda has an extensive video network, the Church of Satan has their own Facebook page, and tweets come from users like “Godless Atheist” and “I Am Godless”… so why shouldn’t Christians get into this newfangled social network thing?
The Pope is concerned that you might become a little too obsessed with the virtual world and live a “parallel existence.” He understands there will be temptation to be inauthentic and to “give in to the illusion of constructing an artificial public profile” for yourself. He’s also worried that there are risks involved in not really knowing your “neighbor in this new world.” You might spend a lot of your time online, but fail to create deep and meaningful relationships all the same.
Yet, social media is too big a world to ignore. Pope Benedict realizes that “there exists a Christian way of being present in the digital world.” He urges Christians to be “honest and open, responsible and respectful of others.” It’s not an obligation for Christians to post “expressly religious content” on different media platforms, but rather, to “witness consistently” by the word choice, judgments and tones used with others. Christians must be careful not to dilute the message of Christ by seeking popularity, attention and acceptance.
If you’ve ever held off getting a Facebook or Twitter account because you weren’t sure what The Pope thought of it or you weren’t sure if it would be very “Christian-like” of you to have a profile, then hold off no more! “I invite young people above all to make good use of their presence in the digital world,” Pope Benedict says, giving his apostolic blessing. Network away!
What do you think about the Pope’s view concerning social media?