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Virtual friendship ’OK’ if used wisely

New technologies allow people to go beyond culture, says Korean priest

Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI
  • Stephen Hong, Seoul
  • Korea
  • January 27, 2011
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Pope Benedict XVI has urged Christians to enter into a network of relations using the latest digital technologies available.

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, on Jan. 24 held a press conference at the Vatican and released the pope’s message for the 45th World Day of Social Communications on Jun. 5, titled Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age.

Today’s new technologies “allow people to meet each other beyond the confines of space and of their own culture,” Father Ignatius Kim Min-soo, secretary of the Korean bishops’ Committee for Social Communications, said today when conveying the pope’s message.

“This network is an integral part of human life,” it creates an entirely new world of potential friendships, he said stating from the pope’s message.

Father Kim said the pope’s message has “profound philosophical, psychological and social” contents about social networking.

He raised the pros and cons in the development process of the digital world, especially for young people, Father Kim said.

“It is important always to remember that virtual contacts in online friendships cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives,” was the pope’s warning for the young.

He also told them to make wise use of the digital technologies and constantly ask themselves, “Who is my ‘neighbor’ in this new world?”

Since 2009, the Vatican has been running a web portal, for young people to access the pope’s speeches and writings and videos of his activities, that link to YouTube and Facebook.

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