VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI told Catholic bloggers and Facebook and YouTube users Monday to be respectful of others when spreading the Gospel online and not to see their ultimate goal as getting as many online hits as possible.
Echoing concerns in the U.S. about the need to root out online vitriol, Benedict called for the faithful to adopt a “Christian style presence” online that is responsible, honest and discreet
“We must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its ‘popularity’ or from the amount of attention it receives,” Benedict wrote in his annual message for the church’s World Day of Social Communications.
“The proclamation of the Gospel requires a communication which is at once respectful and sensitive.”
I’m all for civility in Christian discourse. This example is one of my favourites – I forget who said it:
People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You build granite tombs for your prophets and marble monuments for your saints.
And you say that if you had lived in the days of your ancestors, no blood would have been on your hands.
You protest too much! You’re cut from the same cloth as those murderers, and daily add to the death count.
“Snakes! Reptilian sneaks! Do you think you can worm your way out of this? Never have to pay the piper?
It’s on account of people like you that I send prophets and wise guides and scholars generation after generation – and generation after generation you treat them like dirt, greeting them with lynch mobs, hounding them with abuse.
“You can’t squirm out of this: Every drop of righteous blood ever spilled on this earth, beginning with the blood of that good man Abel right down to the blood of Zechariah, Barachiah’s son, whom you murdered at his prayers, is on your head.
All this, I’m telling you, is coming down on you, on your generation.