The more famous a person is, the more followers they will have on Twitter, that most dynamic of social media platforms. Popularity is no measure of virtue, however, with many tweets by the singer Liam Gallagher (3.2 million followers), for instance, suitable only for the wall of a public urinal.
The Church nonetheless wants the faithful to use social media in the “new evangelisation” of the West, and Pope Francis offers leadership by tweeting films to accompany his monthly prayer intentions, speaking directly to the 18 million people following him at @Pontifex.
Most of us count our followers only in scores or hundreds. Yet we can still bear witness to Our Lord if we remember that the new evangelisation is new only in its methods and not in its content. Honour the demands of the Gospel, therefore, and treat users with the same courtesy as if addressing them in person.
Use Twitter also to practise spiritual works of mercy – to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear wrongs patiently and pray for the living and the dead. Then leave the rest to God.