During Lent, Catholics are usually urged to give up something and in this year’s occasion, the Pope has some ideas.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis added a 21st Century twist to the season where he urged people to stop trolling each other on social media.
“We live in an atmosphere polluted by too much verbal violence, too many offensive and harmful words, which are amplified by the Internet,” he was quoted as saying. “Today, people insult each other as if they were saying ‘Good Day.'”
He also said that Lent is a time to “give up useless words, gossip, rumours, tittle-tattle and speak to God on a first name basis,” he said. “It is the time to disconnect from your cell phone and connect to the Gospel.” Last year, the Pope asked followers to give up gossip.
The Pope has been quite welcoming of the Internet. In 2014, he described the Internet as a gift from God. “The Internet in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God,” he said. However he acknowledged that the speed of social media threatens to isolate users from their friends and family. “While these drawbacks are real, they do not justify rejecting social media,” he added. “Rather they remind us that communication is untimely a human rather than a technological achievement.”
The Pope is known for using social media. On Twitter, you can find his official Twitter page at @Pontifex which has over 18 million followers. Kenya has over 9.7 million Catholics who will be observing Lent.