News / Science & Technology

Pope Calls Internet a 'Gift from God'

FILE - Pope Francis greets the faithful as he arrives to visit the Church of St Alfonso Maria dei Liguori in the outskirts of Rome, Jan. 6, 2014.
FILE - Pope Francis greets the faithful as he arrives to visit the Church of St Alfonso Maria dei Liguori in the outskirts of Rome, Jan. 6, 2014.

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Pope Francis today declared the Internet “a gift from God,” in a statement released by the Vatican to mark the Catholic Church’s World Communications Day.

The pope said the Internet “offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity” and that “is something truly good.”

Citing increased levels of inequality around the world, the pontiff said the media could play a role by “creating a sense of the unity of the human family which can in turn inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all.”

There are downsides to greater interconnectedness, the pope said, adding that the speed of communication “exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement.”

He added that by offering a wide variety of ideas, electronic forms of communication
“also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests.”

Digital connectivity, the pontiff added, “can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbors, from those closest to us.” 

And while there are drawbacks, the pope said “they do not justify rejecting social media; rather, they remind us that communication is ultimately a human rather than technological achievement.”

He added that we need to “to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm” and that   “this calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen.” 

The 77-year-old Argentine has proved a somewhat controversial figure, saying, for example, that homosexuals should not be marginalized and that Catholics should reach out to atheists.

In today’s statement, he told his followers that “engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and tradition.”

Francis said the Internet and social media offered a chance for such a dialogue.

“The digital world can be an environment rich in humanity; a network not of wires but of people,” he said.

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by: harnam khaira from: canberra
January 23, 2014 8:55 PM
Church, centuries old religious books and popes have nothing to do with the innovation - they killed innovators and they are still against scientific developments. Shame on pope for being hypocrite - declaring Internet to be God's Gift while opposing innovation in a number of areas like research in genealogy. Shame on the Pope and other religious leaders. Shame Shame.
In Response

by: Mike from: Portland
January 23, 2014 9:55 PM
On the contrary, the church and the popes have sponsored scientific innovation since before the Renaissance. You do realize that Universities are a direct result of the church's embrace of science and the search for truth? Shame on you for not know the reality of the situation and trying to portray the church as anti-science and anti-technology.

by: Constantine
January 23, 2014 8:45 PM
Well, the Department of Defense definitely thinks they're God at times; I guess the pope just confirmed it.

by: William from: Singapore
January 23, 2014 8:15 PM
Wow, Tim Berners-Lee skipped being a Catholic saint to THE God now.
In Response

by: Mike from: Portland
January 23, 2014 9:52 PM
You do realize that Tim Berners-Lee invented HTTP, not the internet, right?

by: MikeA from: San Diego
January 23, 2014 7:56 PM
Sure, a gift from God. All the work of the internet pioneers (_not_ Al Gore!), their ideas and the implementations, the back-breaking work to build the infrastructure, the ingenuity and the troubleshooting--that is just details. But these were mere mortals, they don't count!
In Response

by: bhattathiri from: india
January 23, 2014 9:20 PM
Valuable opinion
Everything is a gift from God.

by: Aletheya from: USA
January 23, 2014 7:19 PM
I'm confused, I thought the internet was a gift from Al Gore?

Seriously, though, what is he saying, that God inspired the engineers who designed the internet? This pope seems fairly impressive, but saying the internet is a gift from God is just silly. It's OK to give human beings credit for their achievements, without saying it was all really the work of a deity. And if God gets credit for all the good things in the world, doesn't He have to take the blame for all the bad things? Fair is fair.

by: Absolute Ist from: us
January 23, 2014 6:51 PM
Typical of a religious icon! The internet is not "a" "gods" doing but The Devil.

by: Rod from: Geelong, Australia
January 23, 2014 6:28 PM
If God gave us the Internet, then he obviously wants us to watch Porn.
I'm happy to accept his blessing>

by: John Dagne
January 23, 2014 6:13 PM
It is ironic that the USA has just ruled against "net neutrality".

by: David Amstutz from: Poway CA
January 23, 2014 6:09 PM
Now I find out God invented the internet, when all along I thought it was Al Gore.

by: AlanBenner from: New York
January 23, 2014 5:58 PM
"Gift from God?" -- funny, I thought it was from the 1,000s of engineers and scientists who built the hardware and wrote the software to make the Internet work. -- I guess they should have just relaxed, and waited for God to make it happen.
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