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Catholic News ServiceJanuary 31, 2013

Social media need to promote more logic, kindness and Christian witness than bluster, star-status and division, Pope Benedict XVI said in his message for World Communications Day, to be observed on May 12. The statement was released on Jan. 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists. Given that the digital world exposes people to a wider range of opinions and beliefs, people need to accept the existence of other cultures, be enriched by them and offer others what “they possess that is good, true and beautiful,” the pope said. Christians are called to bring truth and values to the whole world—online and off—remembering that it is ultimately the power of God’s word that touches hearts, not sheer human effort, he said. Social media “need the commitment of all who are conscious of the value of dialogue, reasoned debate and logical argumentation.” Social forums need to be used wisely and well, which means fostering balanced and respectful dialogue and debate, he said, and paying special attention to “privacy, responsibility and truthfulness.”

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