Pope Francis warns of toxicity in digital space, calls for inclusion in social media

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.2 Peter:2:19 The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.Proverbs:28:16

Pope Francis celebrated Mass for Rome’s Congolese community in St. Peter's Basilica on July 3, 2022.

Pope Francis celebrated Mass for Rome’s Congolese community in St. Peter’s Basilica on July 3, 2022./ Daniel Ibanez/CNA

AC Wimmer

By AC Wimmer

Vatican City, Jul 18, 2022 / 03:56 am

Pope Francis has called on Catholics to counter toxicity in social media, and to engage in dialogue and education to help deal with “lies and misinformation.”

In a message published by the Holy See on July 18, the Holy Father also called for the inclusion of currently excluded communities into “the digital space.”

Pope Francis addressed this message to the participants of the 2022 World Congress of SIGNIS in Seoul, South Korea. The event is held every four years, and the 2022 Congress  explores the theme of “Peace in the Digital World” both on site and digitally from August 16-19. 

SIGNIS is the World Catholic Association for Communication, an organization whose mission is to “help transform cultures in the light of the Gospel by promoting human dignity, justice and reconciliation.” 

In his message, Pope Francis said, “the use of digital media, especially social media, has raised a number of  serious ethical issues that call for wise and discerning judgment on the part of communicators and  all those concerned with the authenticity and quality of human relationships.”


“Sometimes and in some places, media sites have become places of toxicity, hate speech and fake news,” the pope added.

He encouraged Catholic communicators to persevere in efforts to counter these, “paying particular attention to the need to assist people, especially young people, to develop a sound  critical sense, learning to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, good from evil, and to  appreciate the importance of working for justice, social concord, and respect for our common home.”

Immediately after the accession of Philip, the terrible edict of 1550 was re-enacted. From this notable document an idea of Spain’s methods of governing her colonies may be gathered:—
“No one shall print, write, copy, keep, conceal, sell, buy, or give in churches, streets, or other places, any book or writing made by Martin Luther, John Ecolampadius, Ulrich Zwinglius, Martin Bucer, John Calvin, or other heretics reprobated by the holy church; … nor break, or otherwise injure the images of the Holy Virgin or canonized saints; … nor in his house hold conventicles, or illegal gatherings, or be present at any such in which the adherents of the above-mentioned heretics teach, baptize, and form conspiracies against the holy church and the general welfare…. Moreover, we forbid all persons to converse or dispute concerning the Holy Scriptures, openly or secretly, especially on any doubtful or difficult matters, or to read, teach, or expound the Scriptures unless they have duly studied theology, and been approved by some renowned university; … or to preach secretly, or openly, or to entertain any of the opinions of the above-mentioned heretics; … on pain, should any be found to have contravened any of the points above mentioned, as perturbers of the state and of the general quiet, to be punished in the following manner: that such perturbators of the general quiet are to be executed; to wit, the men with the sword, and the women to be buried alive, if they do not persist in their errors; if they do persist in them, then they are to be executed with fire; all their property in both cases to be confiscated to the crown.”
“Thus, the clemency of the sovereign permitted the repentant heretic to be beheaded or buried alive, instead of being burned.”
All who in any way helped the heretic were in danger of, and liable to, the same punishment; for said the decree:—
“We forbid all persons to lodge, entertain, furnish with food, fire, or clothing, or otherwise to favor any one holden or notoriously suspected of being a heretic; … and any one failing to denounce any such, we ordain shall be liable to the above-mentioned punishments.” The edict went on to provide “that if any person, being not convicted of heresy or error, but greatly suspected thereof, and therefore condemned by the spiritual judge to abjure such heresy, or by the secular magistrate to make public fine or reparation, shall again become suspected or tainted with heresy- although it should not appear that he has contravened or violated any one of our abovementioned commands -nevertheless we do will and ordain that such person shall be considered as relapsed, and, as such, be punished with loss of life and property, without any hope of moderation or mitigation of the above-mentioned penalties.” PRUS 63.2 – PRUS 64.3

The pope also drew attention to “the many communities in our world that remain excluded  from the digital space, making digital inclusion a priority.”

In doing  so, Catholic communicators provide a “significant contribution to the spread of a culture of peace grounded in the  truth of the Gospel,” the Holy Father added. 

Pope Francis prayed that “the story of Saint Andrew  Kim and his companions two hundred years ago [may] confirm you in your own efforts to spread the  Gospel of Jesus Christ in the language of contemporary communications media.”

Author: Adventist Angels Watchman Radio

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