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.

Related Articles

Obama, Pope Francis to Meet in March

White House says President Obama 'looks forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality'

Pope Urges Business Elite to Use Wealth to Serve Humanity

Papal plea comes as Oxfam releases study showing wealth of world's 85 richest individuals equals that of 3.5 billion people
VOA News
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.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
 Previous   Next 
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.
688367

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.
Comments page of 3
 Previous   Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More