Catholic Archbishop Apparently Not A Fan Of Social Networking

from the who-unfriended-him? dept

Catholic Archbishop Vincent Nichols apparently is not a big fan of social networking online, as he's making some news for trashing sites like Facebook and MySpace for creating "transient" friendships. He also throws in some bizarre statement about how these sites lead kids to commit suicide. To be honest, his statements don't sound all that different than plenty of old luddites who have never bothered to actually use the technology. And his complaints don't sound all that different complaints heard throughout time by an older generation against what's popular at the time. As we've noted, at various times, people have complained about the nefarious influence of rock 'n roll, comic books, movies, the telephone, novels, plays, the waltz and chess. In every case, the fear is more from someone not understanding what's going on, rather than any real fear, and the issue appears to be the same this time around as well.

Reporter Yumi Wilson, though, points out something more important though: despite what this archbishop is saying, the Catholic Church has actually been embracing social media, using text messages and creating its own social network. It also has a strong presence on Facebook and has used it to connect various Catholics to each other. And, she notes, the Vatican has its own YouTube Channel. Apparently, the Catholic Church, itself, doesn't quite agree with the views of Archbishop Nichols.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Michael Vilain, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 2:18am

    Didn't get the memo...

    I guess this guy didn't get the memo from upstairs

    STFU

    or in Vaticanese "You will be silent"

     

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  2.  
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    Jaws4theRevenge, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 4:11am

    Typo?

    "using text messages and creating its won social network"

    Shouldn't that be own?

     

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  3.  
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    Victor, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 4:14am

    Oops

    Hate to be a grammar police but,
    "using text messages and creating its won social network"
    should be
    "using text messages and creating its OWN social network"

     

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  4.  
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    Eric, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 4:26am

    How about commenting on the article?

    gotta love the grammar police. And two of them at that.

     

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  5.  
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    cash gifting, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 5:09am

    Too Many Factors

    Suicide is such a complex and little understood issue that I can't see why the Catholic church would attempt to peg social media as a root cause.

    The cause of suicide is what's going on in a person's mind. Trying to blame outside conditions or influences is moot. No 2 people think or feel alike; this is what makes the diagnosis of a person with suicidal tendencies so difficult.

     

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  6.  
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    Chargone, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 5:11am

    Re: How about commenting on the article?

    i could add more errors to the list, grammatically, or perhaps typographically, actually. these things happen. if they get picked up on, pointed out, and corrected, it makes it easier to read and reduces misunderstandings, but it's far from a big deal

    as for the article: big whoop. yet another clueless individual who got a chance to talk to the media and spouted a load of nonsense. being an Archbishop hardly removes one's capability to do so.

    there's really not much To say about this, other than 'see? even religious folks can be unhelpful twits'

    past experience seems to indicate that this is not news to anyone.

    you know, for a post i went into with nothing to say, and that has little or no content, this is actually quite long...

     

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  7.  
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    OMAC (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 5:17am

    Wow, utter fail. I have been able to re-establish friendships with people I haven't seen in up to 20 years because of Facebook! It's been an incredible resource for me and others. Facebook has done more for me in the past year than any church has done in my whole life.

     

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  8.  
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    Bob, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 5:44am

    Yea, This guy knows what the f&@# he's talking about.

    Like marriage counseling, abortion rights, the use of contraception, and a whole range of issues, this is another example of how religious leaders hold an opinion of something for which they have no life experience.

    How can you say texting/ social networking ruins relationships until you have texted and used social networking sites so much that you have ruined several relationships?

    This is a classic example of the disconnection between supposed spiritual/moral/life leadership and the world in which they are trying to lead.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 5:51am

    Everyone knows it's Dungeons & Dragons that makes kids commit suicide! My demon, Buggl'fumph, has been telling me to kill myself for years -- ever since I first summoned him during a D&D game. Lately, he's just been trying to get me to join MySpace. After this article, his evil plot is so very clear to me.

    ;-)

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 5:56am

    "To be honest, his statements don't sound all that different than plenty of old luddites ....."
    Clearly intended as an insult to anyone who's ideas don't agree with yours, but I wonder why you ue the word "old" ?. The context implies people older than the author .... but the author is a bit of an old fart himself - way to old to be part of the internet generation.
    Perhaps the wording is to try and ingratiate yourself to your intended audience and avoid any obligation to make original/perceptive comments ?.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 6:05am

    Re: Oops

    Good work... none of us figured that out.

     

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  12.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 6:35am

    Question

    Is there anyway to DRM an Arch Bishop? I'd be in favor of that...

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 6:36am

    Re: Yea, This guy knows what the f&@# he's talking about.

    You know these sorts of posts are always so funny. People can't judge until they have experience. When they have the experience (and their hands are dirty too), they are no longer in a position to judge.

    The real duality is people who are willing to take advice from someone, and people who aren't.

    If you think that the church's position on love, marriage, etc is inadequate, well that's wonderful for you. But their ideal is unquestionably better than reality. And the way to get there is full of small individual sacrifices.

    The summary notes that the church as a whole utilizes these tools to communicate. You have one idiot spouting off, and you are dismissing the entire church.

    Isn't that the same as having one anecdote of social networking gone wrong, and you conclude the internet leads to suicide?

     

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  14.  
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    Travis (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 6:39am

    The Catholic Church doesn't like a lot of things. Social Networking is pretty low on the list of things for them to embrace, in my opinion.

     

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  15.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Yea, This guy knows what the f&@# he's talking about.

    "You know these sorts of posts are always so funny. People can't judge until they have experience. When they have the experience (and their hands are dirty too), they are no longer in a position to judge."

    Couldn't agree with that part more. The idea that only after you've personally experienced something can you have an opinion on it is silly. Take for example, oh I don't know...heroin. I think heroin use is generally a bad thing. I've never done heroin. Clearly I don't know what I'm talking about.

    "If you think that the church's position on love, marriage, etc is inadequate, well that's wonderful for you. But their ideal is unquestionably better than reality. And the way to get there is full of small individual sacrifices."

    Uh....no, sorry. Their ideal might be better for you, but not me. I'll take reality over the Catholic ideal any day of the week. To say that is unquestionable is arrogant and dismissive of other people's beliefs and wishes.

     

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  16.  
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    George from Connecticut, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 6:51am

    Change is in the Wind...

    There was a time when golf was made illegal because it was taking away from the nobles' time to practice archery and horsemanship (which was more valuable for war efforts).

    We are all lucky if we have just four or five close friends. Many of the others are all transient in nature anyway, even through our face-to-face networking endevors.

    Maybe it confusion because anyone you connect with on Facebook being called a "Friend" instead of "acquaintance". In any event, it shows a trend for people to assume that they can stop change. Change is inevitable...

    I'll leave off with two quotes that somehow seem relevant:

    "The world is full of people whose notion of a satisfactory future is, in fact, a return to the idealised past."
    - Robertson Davies

    "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail."
    - Abraham Maslow

     

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  17.  
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    Sheinen, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 7:44am

    Remember when gay marraige caused floods?

    Church officials may not be immune to idiocy, but they do hold positions in which you would hope they would know better. To spout their own prejudices on the world under the guise of religous scripture is an abuse of authority and it should be revoked as a result.

    I'm an atheist myself, so I don't really have anyone to blame for my own ignorance or dislikes - I just chalk it down to having an opinion and get on with it!

     

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  18.  
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    Esahc (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 8:02am

    Re:

    +1 comment of summoning.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Yea, This guy knows what the f&@# he's talking about.

    "Couldn't agree with that part more. The idea that only after you've personally experienced something can you have an opinion on it is silly. Take for example, oh I don't know...heroin. I think heroin use is generally a bad thing. I've never done heroin. Clearly I don't know what I'm talking about."

    I think there are shades of gray. Heroin has very well document effects on the human body; enough to show that it is bad for you. But you can't say a book or music or other piece of art and culture is 'evil' without having actually experienced it. Anyone else remember the lies told about Harry Potter, how it taught kids to cast evil witchcraft and the books were blasphemous and evil incarnate that should be burned? Why did that happen? because some people went spouting off about the books without actually reading them.

    Actually I hate how quick the religious are to decry something as evil in general, the word is starting to lose any meaning. It used to be that to be evil one had to cause pain and suffering for no other reason than they enjoyed doing it. Now it is used by everyone to call anyone who is fighting for something they don't believe in evil.

    I personally am an agnostic, or a universal unitarian, depending on how you want to look at it but I was raised Christian and taught not to decry things as evil or say that someone is going to go to hell because the big guy in the sky would sort things out and we, being human, can't possibly know the whole story to know if someone was truly being evil or only doing what they thought was right (not that that would excuse them for breaking laws, but there is a difference between saying something is wrong and calling someone evil and saying their going to end up in hell). It always disappoints me to see how quick most Christians are to do that...

     

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  20.  
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    Bubba Gump (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Re: Question

    Isn't that what celibacy is? Catholic priests cannot be "reproduced"? :-)

     

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  21.  
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    Cipher-0, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 9:08am

    Re: Change is in the Wind...

    "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." - Abraham Maslow

    When all you have is a nailgun, every problem looks like a messiah.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    mjb5406 (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 9:17am

    Interesting... they called him a liberal!

    Looking at the announcement last April that Nichols was slated to become the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, he was described as a "liberal" and that the conservative Catholics there were disappointed that the Pope didn't appoint a "dynamic conservative outsider" to the post. Liberal? Maybe relative to the 1950's, but certainly not liberal by today's standards.

     

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  23.  
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    George from Connecticut, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 12:39pm

    Remember...

    This is coming from a group that didn't let Galileo off the hook until 1992. This was not only 350 years after his death, but also LONG after the science was well documented and known fact...

     

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  24.  
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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 2:14pm

    Catholic New Media Conference

    The Catholic New Media Conference is another example of how this Bishop's views are not held by many within the Church.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 4:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Yea, This guy knows what the f&@# he's talking about.

    I'll take reality over the Catholic ideal any day of the week.

    I'm actually very surprised at this. The Catholic ideal is a world full of love and peace.

    Reality is full of fractured marriages, abandoned children, and meaningless/mindless sex. Don't even get me started on rape. One in five (minimum, it may be more) girls are sexually abused as children. The real world is wrecked when it comes to sexual ethics.

    Don't misunderstand me, it's not just the Catholic ideal that's better though, it's almost any religion's ideal.

    All I know is a lot of people in our world end up with pretty messed up lives.

    Their ideal might be better for you, but not me.
    And this is why the Catholic ideal (or any other) can't work. It takes lots of small sacrifices. We all have to make small sacrifices.

    I might be happy visiting strip clubs and prostitutes every weekend, but their lives might be a trainwreck. As long as I'm happy, whatever. Instead, I should (that's a moral judgement) sacrifice my own short term sexual needs for the health and integrity of those poor girls.

     

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  26.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Remember...

    Did he come back to life?

     

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  27.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yea, This guy knows what the f&@# he's talking about.

    "I'm actually very surprised at this. The Catholic ideal is a world full of love and peace."

    Love and Peace through dedicated servitude to the "one true God". Let's call it what it is: bullshit. The problem is that organized religions by and large don't believe in their own dogma. That's how you end up with Pope's wearing more bling than Ludacris (Nazi/Templars to thank, btw).

    So, yes, I'll take my miserable freedom over their blissfully ignorant servitude any day of the week.

     

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  28.  
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    James Love, Aug 3rd, 2009 @ 9:27pm

    Don't dismiss too quickly

    Sure he might be wrong, however I've found that Catholic thinkers are generally not a bunch of luddites or fundamentalist anti-intellectual moralists.

    Before dismissing him, I'd recommend finding out the breadth of what he is saying. The media tends to dumb down religious discussions to simplistic and lost nuance of people's arguments. Although I am a Protestant Christian, I tend to take notice of Roman Catholic concerns about dehumanizing cultural practices, because in time, they are often largely correct in their cultural analysis. I think the 1968 Humanae Vitae was correct on predicting a number of dehumanizing aspects of the sexual revolution. In some cases, things ended up worse that even Rome could predict.

    I like facebook, however if someone really thinks that they have 200 friends, they are deluded. I've also wondered about younger people since I've noticed a trend that they feel somehow that, as a stranger, you've intruded on their personal space by merely talking to them. Strangers talking to strangers, without some prior connection, seems strange to younger generations. This certainly would be a diminishment of humanity. I also once talked to a Cuba man who said that North American culture was strange, cause you couldn't go as a lone person to a bar and connect with a group of young people and be welcomed. This was seen as a strange intrusion into the closed group of North Americans. He said Cubans were much more friendlier and open, and I think he would be right in saying this.

    If you've got an open mind, listen to the divergent voices who say that your sacred cows might be giving poisoned milk. They might be wrong, but what if they are right?

     

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  29.  
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    TFP, Aug 4th, 2009 @ 2:03am

    Uhm, what he actually said

    paraphrasing badly here, but along the lines of, social networking alone is creating groups of people who are unlearning the non verbal skills of human communication, learning to live with friends negative aspects (not just the idealised face they show on Facebook), and the day to day realities of people annoyances, seeing past that to your friendship (that indefinable chemical reaction between two people that make them like each other).

    If someone annoys you on Facebook, you just delete them from your list, something not so easy to do in the non virtual world where your friendship is probably tied to your geography, you have to work thru the annoyance, which generally makes the friendship even more solid.

    I personally like Facebook, it's allowed me to get back in contact with old friends scattered around the country, but I don't neglect the here and now need for friends in my immediate vicinity, to go to the pub with, to argue politics or religion (in realtime with non verbal cues when we might be getting under each others skin etc).

    Online you might call someone stupid without qualifying the remark, face to face, if you said it at all (and weren't trying to start a fight), you'd qualify it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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