Readers may recall our coverage of last week’s Orthodox Jewish gathering at Citi Field, which discussed the issues Internet use poses for a traditional religious community. Pope Benedict XVI, it turns out, issued a proclamation on new media on the same day, as Nicholas Frankovich points out at National Review:
Even as the men at Citi Field were sending the message to beware the collapse of the signal-to-noise ratio under the crush of social media and the Internet, the pope, as it happens, was singing to us from the same hymnal in Rome. May 20 was the Catholic Church’s 46th observance of World Communications Day. The title of Benedict’s message for it is “Silence and Word.” He writes there:
In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth; we understand with greater clarity what it is we want to say and what we expect from others; and we choose how to express ourselves. . . . When messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary.Deeper reflection helps us to discover the links between events that at first sight seem unconnected, to make evaluations, to analyze messages; this makes it possible to share thoughtful and relevant opinions, giving rise to an authentic body of shared knowledge. For this to happen, it is necessary to develop an appropriate environment, a kind of ‘eco-system’ that maintains a just equilibrium between silence, words, images and sounds.
Covering the Citi Field event, Jennie Rothenberg Gritz of The Atlantic does a fine job of advancing the conversation beyond stereotypes of religious men confessing that pornography tempts them — which was the gist of the comparatively shallow report in the New York Times, for example.