Pope looks forward to returning to 1958

I can’t tell if this conference where the Pope describes the dangers of the digital age means he reads TUE or not! Vanity, what have you done to me? Contrary to the linked site’s author, I’m okay with the fact that the Pope didn’t necessarily address the sex abuse scandal.  It was more his bearish opinions on the inter-webs that got me. Here are some of the Pope’s translated thoughts…

“…he went on to say, it also opens a new hole, the “digital divide” between haves and have-nots. Even more ominous, he said, it exacerbates tensions between nations and within nations themselves. And it increases the “dangers of … intellectual and moral relativism,” which can lead to “multiple forms of degradation and humiliation”.

See, this is exactly why I get my tech news from bits blog and not the Vatican.  This is easily countered by the existence of Wikipedia, digital interactions between global citizens on blogs and twitter or more generally any iteration of Tom Friedman’s flattening of the world.  Knowledge has never been more free, open, and easily navigated.  The internet is fighting an uphill battle in helping to open up once closed off societies in North Korea, China, and Iran.

I have to say, I was encouraged to read a 2005 letter from Pope John Paul II on the digital age entitled the Rapid Development.  The opening pretty much had me…

“1. The rapid development of technology in the area of the media is surely one of the signs of progress in today’s society. In view of these innovations in continuous evolution, the words found in the Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Inter Mirifica, promulgated by my venerable predecessor, the servant of God Paul VI, December 4, 1963, appear even more pertinent: “Man’s genius has with God’s help produced marvelous technical inventions from creation, especially in our times. The Church, our mother, is particularly interested in those which directly touch man’s spirit and which have opened up new avenues of easy communication of all kinds of news, of ideas and orientations.”[1]

Thanks to Doc Mugwump for the pointer to the JPII letter.

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5 Responses

  1. I guess you can make the argument that new media makes it easier for biased people to only read biased sites and block out/just not visit all the others…but what Benedict sounds like is someone bitter about what some jilted friend put on their facebook update…or in this case printed newspapers have printed about molested kids…same thing really…

  2. You do realize that, generally speaking, the two are cut from the same cloth, yes? Save the accolades for John XXIII.

    • theologically speaking yes, they are pretty close however JPII was never a member of the nazi youth, something I have personally yet to come to terms with about Ben. secondly, JPII while conservative was much more conscious of his public perception than Ben is. Ben wants to be known as uber conservativ while JP II was happy to be conservative but appear ecumenical, benevolent and understanding. Franlky, Ben needs a better PR guy.

      • Point well taken, Kate.

        When Benedict was elected, I actually argued that his overall lack of charisma was actually a good thing; in my limited experience, it’s much more difficult to effectively criticize someone like JPII, who people (including myself) felt a real emotional connection to, than Benedict, who, as you pointed out, has gone from one PR debacle to another. My hope is that the sapping of public confidence in the current papacy will embolden the few liberals left in the Curia to elect a reformer after Benedict dies or, better still, resigns.

        The Nazi youth thing doesn’t bother me terribly much, given the time, place, and extent of Benedict’s involvement – as an academic, I have a much harder time coming to terms with Heidegger’s Nazism than the Pope’s. If there’s one thing that truly troubles me, though, it’s Benedict’s views on the liturgical reforms implemented by the Second Vatican Council. The image of a Pope celebrating Mass with his back to people is redolent of the sort of ultramontanism that we haven’t seen since the early 20th century.

  3. I absolutely agree on the return to pre-Vatican II mass. I worry more that Benedict empowers those ultramontane Curia members and would inspire a return to such ways rather than proving to the curia how there is a need for reform. Time shall tell.

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