The Internet is a "gift from God" that facilitates communication, Pope Francis said in a statement released Thursday, but he warns that the obsessive desire to stay connected can actually isolate people from their friends and family.
Francis made the observations in a message about Catholic Church communications, meditating on the marvels and perils of the digital era and what that means for the faithful going out into the world and interacting with people of different faiths and backgrounds.
"This is something truly good, a gift from God," he wrote. But he warned: "The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbors, from those closest to us."
He called for communications in the digital era to be like "a balm which relieves pain and a fine wine which gladdens hearts" and for the church's message to not be one of bombarding others with Christian dogma.
"May the light we bring to others not be the result of cosmetics or special effects, but rather of our being loving and merciful neighbors to those wounded and left on the side of the road," he said. (AP)