In a letter commemorating the 45th World Day of Social Communications, Pope Benedict XVI said that there was a Christian way of being present in the digital world.
He praised the internet for allowing people to meet each other beyond the confines of spaces and cultures, but highlighted the possible risks, including the loss of direct human contact and the construction of artificial public profiles, which he described as a form of self-indulgence.
Pope Benedict also emphasised the importance of witnessing the gospel in all its authenticity; not watering it down to make it more palatable. “We must make it known in its integrity, instead of seeking to make it acceptable or diluting it. It must become daily nourishment and not a fleeting attraction. The truth of the Gospel is not something to be consumed or used superficially; rather it is a gift that calls for a free response,” he said.
He said that believers who bore witness to their convictions helped prevent the internet from becoming an instrument for manipulation and depersonalisation, but rather helped keep alive the yearning which inspired the quest for truth and communion.
“Through the intercession of their patron Saint Francis de Sales, I pray that God may grant communications workers the capacity always to carry out their work conscientiously and professionally,” he ended his letter.