The Bishop of Portsmouth has asked Catholics to use Lent as a time to repent of sins committed on social media.
Bishop Philip Egan described the uncharitable use of blogs, Facebook and Twitter as a “grave matter.”
Using social media for abuse or to attack the reputations of other people was a direct sin against the Eighth Commandment, forbidding people from “bearing false witness” against their neighbours, he said in a pastoral letter released March 19.
“We must exercise discretion, respect others and their privacy and not engage in slander, gossip and rash judgment,” the bishop wrote in the document that was to be distributed in parishes the weekend of March 22-23.
“We must avoid calumny, that is, slurring and damaging people, and not spread abroad their sins and failings,” he said.
The bishop encouraged the faithful to ask themselves “How do I use Facebook or Twitter? Am I charitable when blogging? Do I revel in other people’s failings? “All this is grave matter,” he said.
“Yet when we think of our news media and TV, in which fallen celebrities are pilloried, reputations shredded and people’s sins exposed, it sometimes seems our popular culture thrives on breaking this commandment,” he added.
Bishop Egan invited parishioners to turn away from such sins by praying regularly and by participating in the sacrament of reconciliation.
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