“Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life” should be the guidelines for Christian use of social networking sites, the Pope said in his message for the 45th World Day of Social Communications. In his message released on Jan 24, 2011, the Pope recognized that the digital age of new technologies are in the process of transforming cultures around the world.

If these technologies are used with wisdom and Christian intent, they can give birth to not only a new way of learning and thinking, but at the same time present wonderful opportunities for establishing uplifting relationships and building fellowship, he said.

Pope Benedict also warned about the dangers of falsifying one’s profile and information on social websites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. He urged people to be authentic and faithful when they share information to make “friends” online. The “Christian way” of being present in the digital world means being “honest and open, responsible and respectful of others,” he explained.

He believes that as Christians are being called to share their faith online, witnessing to Christ’s truths, their presence on the internet will greatly help prevent these sites from depersonalizing people, manipulating people emotionally, or allowing those who are powerful to monopolize the opinions of others. Christ’s truth is not a question of online popularity, the Pope added, rather, it is “the full and authentic response to that human desire for relationship, communion and meaning which is reflected in the immense popularity of social networks.” (Adapted from CBCP Monitor, Vol 15 No. 3, 2011; CNA/EWTN News)

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