Shhh! Pope Praises Value of Short Tweets, Silence


VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI praised new communications technologies like Twitter on Tuesday (Jan. 24), saying that even "concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible," can convey "profound thoughts."

Benedict did not explicitly refer to Twitter in his yearly message for World Communications Day, but Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, told reporters that "it's safe to say that a reference to 'tweets' is there."

Benedict wrote that in today's world, "various types of websites, applications and social networks" can help people "find time for reflection and authentic questioning."

A number of high-ranking churchmen already use Twitter. Cardinals Sean O'Malley of Boston; Odilo Scherer of Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, have thousands of followers. According to Celli, most of the visitors to the Vatican's online news portal, www.news.va, arrive from social networks.

In his message, the pope also focused on the value of silence in communication, saying that without it, meaningful messages "cannot exist."

"When messages and information are plentiful," he wrote, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary."

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Tags: Alessandro Speciale, Catholic Church, New Media, Pope, RNS, Twitter