In which The Pope makes me facepalm. Again.

The pope has apparently expressed the opinion that fake profiles on social media sites are bad, citing "The risk of constructing a false image of oneself, which can become a form of self-indulgence."

May I just remind everyone that "Benedict" is not the pope's real name. His real name is Joseph Ratzinger. And if anyone has a false and self-indulgent image of himself, it's a man who thinks he's god's appointed representative on earth and as a result lives in an opulent palace.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 6:30 PM


Comments on this entry:

# re: In which The Pope makes me facepalm. Again.

Left by beetleshirt at 1/26/2011 10:32 PM
So what you're saying is that you want consistency from an organisation founded on a bunch of contradictory stories? Don't hold your breath.

Nice spot though! Good comeback if anyone brings it up.

# re: In which The Pope makes me facepalm. Again.

Left by An Idle Dad at 1/28/2011 8:25 AM
His real name is Joe.

I'm so using this in the near future.

# re: In which The Pope makes me facepalm. Again.

Left by Gil at 1/28/2011 8:58 AM
A little context wouldn't have hurt here, happy though I usually am to sink the boot -- metaphorically -- into the old boy.

Having read that passage of his speech in full, he seems to be arguing not against fake profiles, but more in favour of behaving in an ethical fashion when attempting to forge relationships with people online. I certainly don't see him "Slamming fake social media profiles."

"Ever greater involvement in the public digital forum...inevitably poses questions not only of how to act properly, but also about the authenticity of one’s own being...In the search for sharing, for “friends”, there is the challenge to be authentic and faithful, and not give in to the illusion of constructing an artificial public profile for oneself."

Which is pretty reasonable, if we allow that he's talking specifically about people seeking to make meaningful interpersonal relationships and defining 'friend' in a specific way. He immediately goes in to explain, in some detail, what he means:

"The new technologies allow people to meet each other beyond the confines of space and of their own culture, creating in this way an entirely new world of potential friendships. This is a great opportunity, but it also requires greater attention to and awareness of possible risks. Who is my “neighbour” in this new world? Does the danger exist that we may be less present to those whom we encounter in our everyday life? Is there is a risk of being more distracted because our attention is fragmented and absorbed in a world “other” than the one in which we live? Do we have time to reflect critically on our choices and to foster human relationships which are truly deep and lasting? It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives.

In the digital age too, everyone is confronted by the need for authenticity and reflection. Besides, the dynamic inherent in the social networks demonstrates that a person is always involved in what he or she communicates. When people exchange information, they are already sharing themselves, their view of the world, their hopes, their ideals. It follows that there exists a Christian way of being present in the digital world: this takes the form of a communication which is honest and open, responsible and respectful of others."

These are hardly new or controversial ideas. Issues of representation and authenticity which have arisen alongside these new technologies are worthy of debate and discussion.
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