Vatican City, May 20, 2009 / 11:21 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI is calling upon young people to evangelize using the Internet as the Church prepares to celebrate the World Day for Social Communications.
At the end of his Wednesday general audience, the Holy Father launched an appeal asking that cyberspace be a place that promotes a "culture of respect, dialogue and authentic friendship where the values of truth, harmony and understanding can flourish."
Speaking English, the Holy Father recalled how in his message for this year's celebrations, "I am inviting all those who make use of the new technologies of communication, especially the young, to utilize them in a positive way and to realize the great potential of these means to build up bonds of friendship and solidarity that can contribute to a better world.
"Young people in particular, I appeal to you: bear witness to your faith through the digital world!" the Pope urged.
"Employ these new technologies to make the Gospel known, so that the Good News of God’s infinite love for all people, will resound in new ways across our increasingly technological world!"
The World Day for Social Communications will be held on Sunday, May 24 this year.
Ah, I KNEW I loved our Holy Father from the moment I laid eyes on him!
I do want to call attention to his primary message, though: he is not just asking us to use the internet and social communications in a general sort of way, but very specifically he calls us to two very important principles:
1. Charity - "respect, dialogue and authentic friendship" That means the snarkiness doesn't have a place in social communications. He's right. How easily we forget we're talking to real people with real feelings. How easily we let our emotions get the better of us because we can't see the expressions in others who come across our words. How easily we are offended where no offense is intended, and how easily we snipe back in anger at someone whose only offense was not being able to reveal the fullness of their humanity through words that are one-dimensional.