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Slow Down And Try A Little Tenderness, Pope Tells Digital World

posted 23 Jan 2014, 07:01 by Mpelembe   [ updated 23 Jan 2014, 07:02 ]

Pope Francis, speaking on the Catholic Church's World Communications Day, says social media and the internet are a gift from God.

VATICAN CITY (JANUARY 22, 2014) (CTV) The often superficial, high-speed world of digital social media needed an injection of calmness, reflection and tenderness if it is to be "a network not of wires but of people," Pope Francis said on Thursday (January 23).

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Francis, in his message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Communications Day, also said that while Catholics should cherish and defend their ideas and traditions they should never be so smug as to claim that "they alone are valid or absolute".

He again denounced the "scandalous gap" between the rich and popr, saying it was not uncommon to see homeless people sleeping in the streets in the glow of opulent store window lights.

Francis said the media and the internet - which he called "something truly good, a gift from God," could help bring people together but that digital communications often impeded people from truly getting to know each other.

In the message, the pope said people should try to be more "neighbourly" in the digital environment, not just tolerating people but listening and trying to understand their different points of view.

"The Pope wants to say today that we have to try and be closer, closer together and more united. That is why the walls which divide us can be overcome, the Pope says, only if we are ready to listen to each other and learn from each other," the head of the Vatican Council for Social Communication, Archbishop Claudio Celli, told a news conference.

The pope also denounced the "violent aggression" of media and communications that was primarily aimed at promoting consumption or manipulating others.

"We all understand the limits of the digital world of today, certainly you all know that there are certain books and publications that give a strong message against this digital world and the use of this new technology" Celli said.

"... the Pope says that these difficulties and limitations should not stop us from using this social media. Actually it should remind us that communication is more about humanity than technology" Celli explained.

Asked about the message, Celli, said it was "not a dogmatic text but something intended to make us reflect."