Pope Benedict XVI. sees the Internet as an opportunity "for a new culture of respect, dialogue and friendship". The new technology offers enormous potential and represents "a true gift for humanity," the head of the Church writes in his message for World Media Day.
These benefits must also be available to the poor and socially disadvantaged. At the same time, the Pope warns against Internet addiction and calls for a fight against incitement and sexual exploitation on the net. The 43. Catholic Media Sunday, which is celebrated in most countries on 24. May, while in Germany on 13. The theme of the event, which will be celebrated on September 30, is "New Technologies, New Connections. For a culture of respect, dialogue, friendship". Thanks to the Internet, families can keep in touch over long distances and researchers can collaborate from different places, the pope explains. The new technologies also serve the dialogue between cultures and religions and make it possible to "get to know the values and traditions of others". Digital networks promoted commitment to solidarity, human rights, life and creation across borders. They are capable of deepening "the awareness of co-responsibility for the good of all," the Pope emphasizes. At the same time, Benedict XVI warns. against an abuse of the Internet. "If the new technologies are to serve the good of the individual and of society, the users of these technologies must not exchange words and images that are degrading to human beings," the pope explains. Users must exclude anything "that nurtures hatred and intolerance, degrades the beauty and intimacy of human sexuality, or exploits the weak and defenseless," he said. Through social networks on the Internet, the concept of friendship is experiencing a new flowering, writes the Pope. However, this must not be trivialized. Benedict XVI. warns against an addiction to virtual connection, which leads to the breaking off of real social contacts and to isolation. "It would be sad if our desire to foster and maintain friendships online were to be realized at the expense of being available to family, neighbors, and those we encounter in our daily lives at work, at school, or in our free time."Silence and reflection also continue to need their space, stresses the Pope. Benedict XVI. urges discernment of different interests on the Internet: "One must not be deceived by those who simply seek consumers in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where the decision itself is the good, novelty is passed off as beauty, and subjective experience replaces the truth."Differences in access to information must not widen the gap between rich and poor. It is necessary to "ensure that the digital world in which these networks can be set up is a world that is truly accessible to all," writes the Pope. Young Catholics call Benedict XVI. on an "evangelization of this 'digital continent'". Like the apostles once did, they should "carry the testimony of their faith into the digital world". The basic need for contact and friendship corresponds to the vocation of man by his Creator, who is a "God of communication," the Pope said.