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Pope sees 'new language' needed for social media

Catholic World News - February 28, 2011

New communications technologies are calling for the development of a “new language” to promote the Gospel, Pope Benedict XVI said in a February 28 address to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

The Holy Father emphasized that new social media should not be greeted with “facile enthusiasm or skepticism.” Instead, he said, the Church should learn to use these new media effectively.

Like any language, the Pope said, the new media bring their own distinctive ways of conveying thoughts and organizing ideas. All languages shape the way thoughts are expressed, he noted, and the social media bring to the fore “capacities that are more intuitive and emotional than analytical, tending towards a different logical organization of our ideas and our relationship with reality.”

This new language has drawbacks, the Pope added—particularly for those who use the social media without understanding how it operates:

The risks involved are, of course, visible to everyone: the loss of inner depth, superficiality in relationships, the flight into emotionalism, the prevalence of the most convincing opinion over the desire for truth.

In this context, the Pope said, the task of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications is “helping people in positions of responsibility in the Church to understand, interpret and speak the 'new language' of the mass media in their pastoral functions.”

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