Message of the Holy Father
53rd World Communications Day – Sunday 2 June 2019
Theme: “We are members one of another.” (Eph. 4:25)
From social network communities to the human community
Pope Francis encourages us to cultivate community through our Internet interactions. He warns that online discussion is “too often based on opposition to the other.”
“We define ourselves starting with what divides us rather than with what unites us, giving rise to suspicion and to the venting of every kind of prejudice,” the Pope said.
This creates a digital environment that nourishes “unbridled individualism which sometimes ends up fomenting spirals of hatred,” he explained.
“As Christians, we all recognize ourselves as members of the one body whose head is Christ. This helps us not to see people as potential competitors, but to consider even our enemies as persons,” he said.
Enabling Encounter & Solidarity
Pope Francis clarified that the Catholic Church sees the Internet as a tool that can be used for the betterment of humanity.
“Ever since the internet first became available, the Church has always sought to promote its use in the service of the encounter between persons, and of solidarity among all,” he said.
The Internet provides the “opportunity to share stories and experiences of beauty or suffering that are physically distant from us, in order to pray together and together seek out the good to rediscover what unites us,” he explained.
“The Church herself is a network woven together by Eucharistic communion, where unity is based not on ‘likes,’ but on the truth, on the ‘Amen,’ by which each one clings to the Body of Christ, and welcomes others,” he said.
Longing for Communion
Pope Francis emphasized that social media does not replace the need in the human heart for authentic human community.
“By virtue of our being created in the image and likeness of God, we carry forever in our hearts the longing for living in communion, for belonging to a community,” he said.
“Social network communities are not automatically synonymous with community,” Pope Francis said.
The internet provides “an opportunity to promote encounter with others, but it can also increase our self-isolation, like a web that can entrap us,” he said.
Young people are particularly prone to “the illusion” that social media will “completely satisfy them on a relational level,” the pope warned.
Social Media: Resource for Communion
Pope Francis called on Catholics to “invest in relationships” and cultivate community, utilizing online social networks as a resource.
Social media needs to remain “a resource for communion,” he said. “If a Church community coordinates its activity through the network, and then celebrates the Eucharist together, then it is a resource.”
The responsibility of using social media with charity falls on each individual, Pope Francis explained. “We all have the possibility and the responsibility to promote its positive use,” he said.
Edited from catholicnewsagency.com. Full message at w2.vatican.va
Every user has the responsibility of using social media with charity, and the possibility and responsibility to promote its positive use.