Pope Francis is encouraging the use of social media for nuns, on the condition they use it properly and in moderation.
Pope Francis has issued a new document praising the work nuns do. Within the document, he also suggests that nuns can use social media, as long as it does not “become an obstacle.” Facebook and Twitter are probably in, Pokemon Go, out.
Pope Francis explained that the world, dominated by power and consumerism, needs nuns. He acknowledged that it is not easy for the world to understand the “particular vocation and your hidden mission; and yet it needs them immensely.” He said of nuns, they are “torches to guide men and women along their journey through the dark night of time.”
One way that nuns can serve to guide others is through social media. But social media is also filled with temptation and messages that are far from wholesome and holy. Social media is designed to be addictive.
Yet, Pope Francis himself has used social media and encouraged its use to connect with young people. It is a powerful tool that can be used for good, if used properly.
Social media can be used to communicate, to share ideas and to organize. It is a way to meet the youth where they are and introduce them to alternatives, such as religious life.
Pope Francis is now encouraging nuns to use iPads and smartphones and social media, as long as it’s in moderation. They must not become obstacles. For example, a Facebook account to keep in touch with family, to answer questions and share the joys of contemplative life is reasonable. Obsessively playing Playing Pokemon Go is probably not.
The number of nuns around the world has dropped from 48,000 in 2000 to 39,000 in 2014. It is hoped the use of social media will broaden communication and boost those numbers.