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Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:47 PM

Pope Tweeted Into Retirement


February 12, 2013

The pope is given assistance as he attempts a tweet.

Rachel Wagner
Rachel Wagner is Associate Professor of Religion and Culture at Ithaca College. Her book Godwired: Religion, Ritual and Virtual Reality (Routledge, 2012) explores how our fascination with all things virtual reveals our desire for new rituals and new modes of world building.

Among the least remarked upon, but most interesting aspects of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation was his mention of the “rapid changes” in today’s world, which is “shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith.” While Benedict has had to deal with a number of volatile political and theological issues in recent years, it may have been the startling changes in communications technology that made the whole thing ultimately untenable.

Since believers see the office of the Pope as God’s mouthpiece on earth—God’s Twitter handle if you will—the new communications technologies have become increasingly worrisome, clogging the pipes of communication with so much competing “data” that it’s difficult for religious truths to make it to the top of the faithful's media feed. Indeed, Pope Benedict has seen mind-boggling changes in communications technologies in his brief period of service. It's no wonder he's tired.

Benedict's wish now for a quiet retirement may be gleaned from his recent praise of “silence” in the midst of the ceaseless rush of digital information, as expressed in his World Communications Day speech of 2012:

In our time, the Internet is becoming ever more a forum for questions and answers – indeed, people today are frequently bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of which they were unaware. If we are to recognize and focus upon the truly important questions, then silence is a precious commodity that enables us to exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive.

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cbayer Feb 2013 OP
TlalocW Feb 2013 #1

Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:58 PM

1. If the Catholic Church had the power that it did in the old days

The internet and social media would be fought against as hard as the church fought against the printing press. I have no doubt that Ratzi yearns for those days. The "silence" that he yearns for is that of the common masses, subjugated to the church, accepting whatever doctrines and epistles the pontiff spews out.


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