Pope Francis described the internet as a “gift from God,” in a statement released Thursday, but warned that the obsessive desire to stay connected can actually isolate people from one another, reports SRN News.
His statement was in commemoration of World Communications Day, a day Catholics celebrate the achievements of communications for enriching lives with the values of truth, beauty and goodness. In his statement, Francis made observations about both the marvels and perils of the digital era, and what it means for the faithful to go out into the world and interact with people of different faiths and backgrounds.
“To (have a) dialogue means to believe that the ‘other’ has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective,” Francis wrote. “Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the pretense that they alone are valid and absolute.”
Francis also warned of the difficulty social media can present for personal reflection. According to The Verge, the Pope cautioned that web users can easily “wall themselves within echo chambers,” and that those without the internet are in danger of being left behind.
"While these drawbacks are real, they do not justify rejecting social media," he added. "Rather, they remind us that communication is ultimately a human rather than technological achievement."
Publication Date: January 23, 2013.