BY ALANNAH FRANCIS
THE BISHOP of Paisley has spoken out against the obsessive reliance on technology for communication.
In a pastoral letter sent to all of Scotland’s 500 parishes, Bishop Philip Tartaglia warned the faithful of the dangers of “inane chatter” and cyberbullying.
In the message, read out at all of Scotland’s Catholic churches, Bishop Tartaglia said: “In dialogue with others we need to be wary of the inane chatter that can go on in the digital world which does nothing to promote growth in understanding and tolerance.” He spoke about the benefits of the internet but also its risk in replacing real human interaction.
The bishop said: “We should avoid an obsessive need for virtual connectedness and develop primary human relationships, pursuing true friendship with real people.
“Yet with opportunities come dangers. What parent has not wondered what their child is doing on the internet? What material are they accessing? Who are they talking to in social networking sites?” The Church has embraced the internet in the past 12 months. Recently the Vatican launched its own channel on the video-sharing website, YouTube.
Last month Cardinal Seán Brady recommended sharing prayers with others via Twitter, text or email and Fr Federico Lombardi, the papal spokesman, delivered a lecture to in London entitled “Blessed be the Net?” The Pope has encouraged young Catholics to use the internet to spread the Church’s message. But he is also wary of the dangers, saying it would be sad if online friendships replaced authentic social interaction.