Today, January 24th, is World Communications Day. (Who knew? I mean, seriously, who decides which day is dedicated to which cause?) Although I saw no official statement last week about National Squirrel Day, the Roman Catholic Church has weighed in on today’s festivities. Pope Benedict’s message was titled "New Technologies, New Relationships," and covered the promise and dangers of social networking sites like Facebook and the Jesus or Squirrel? Blog.
The Pope spoke to the "fundamental desire of people to communicate and to relate to each other," which he praised as a "reflection of our participation in the communicative and unifying love of God."
At the same time he warned young people not to pursue "on-line friendships" at the expense of "real social interaction" with relatives, neighbors and co-workers.
"If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development," the Pope shared.
As an application to his message the Vatican released a new news channel on YouTube (www.youtube.com/vatican). It includes two minute news clips of your favorite Vatican officials including the Pope himself.
Unfortunately, though, the comments section has not been enabled on the channel. Maybe more threatening than ‘on-line-friendships” is the one-way-communication of religion.