Pope Benedict XVI has debated the merits of social networks and new media communication in his message for the 45th World Communications Day.
Released on the Feast Day of St Francis de Sales, The Holy Father’s message praises social media for contributing to “a new appreciation of communication itself, which is seen first of all as dialogue, exchange, solidarity and the creation of positive relations.”
However, Pope Benedict warns of its limitations: “the one-sidedness of the interaction, the tendency to communicate only some parts of one’s interior world, the risk of constructing a false image of oneself, which can become a form of self-indulgence.”
Addressing young people, the Holy Father encourages then to “act properly” and to be true to “the authenticity of one’s own being”:
“Entering cyberspace can be a sign of an authentic search for personal encounters with others, provided that attention is paid to avoiding dangers such as enclosing oneself in a sort of parallel existence, or excessive exposure to the virtual world. In the search for sharing, for ‘friends’, there is the challenge to be authentic and faithful, and not give in to the illusion of constructing an artificial public profile for oneself.”