Daily Archives: January 9, 2013
So the Pope has passed the barrier of 1.3 million followers on Twitter, and he appears destined to break every record before long. Still, I am unable to see any great positive aspect in the news.
I have already written about why I think that it does not befit a Pope to descend, as it were, among the people. It also appears only today the slowest have discovered the Pope doesn’t really read his Twitter account (you don’t say? Astonishing…).
Still, it can’t be denied Twitter does have its own use. As I see it, twitter is well suited for the short exchange, the one-two, the close combat. Twitter can’t be used to convey complex concepts, but it can certainly be used to convey short truths in a very punchy way. This kind of short, politically incorrect, shocking message would be wonderfully suited to Twitter, and the huge following of the Pope would help this message to spread around like wildfire.
Let us make some example: short but orthodox tweets could be Q & A from the Penny Catechism; they would mostly have to be divided, but no one would have any difficulty in following them.
Shorter and grittier messages would also be thinkable, like “if you support abortion you are at grave risk of damnation”, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, “there is a time for peace and a time for war”, “today is the anniversary of the great day of Lepanto”, “pray the rosary every day” and countless others.
Imagine what impact would have on the entire Catholic world a Pope authorising one or two of these salvos every day. It would spread literally everywhere, and even the tidal wave of insults and abuse occasioned by them would be extremely useful in attracting the attention on the snippets of Truth daily distributed through Twitter. It would in my eyes be a big instrument of evangelisation, because short statements about real issues coming from such a source would cause the entire planet to take notice and the short, punchy style for which Twitter is so well suited would do the rest.
Not so today, I must say. The Pope’s tweets rival those of the Dalai Lama in innocuousness and, whilst obviously far more useful than those of the latter, are truly nothing to write home about. Catholic afternoon tea talk, rather than a Cyber Crusade.
The situation being what it is, the twitter exercise and the huge following of the Pope remind me of the crowds waiting for the Pope at the airport: a huge kermesse skilfully hiding behind a compact wall of people the immense superficiality of modern, V II Catholicism.
With the new Pope’s twitter account, everyone can follow and feel, in a way, as if he were there at the airport; and this is, I am afraid, the reason why most people follow. To be there, to be part of it, to express an innocuous “approval” rather than being committed to the rather hard truths of Catholicism, this is the real meaning of this big number of followers: a bit like being at the airport without the queues, the security and the waiting. As for the crowds at the airport, easy words rather than hard truths will be administered.
Hard truths of which, you can bet your pint, the Holy Father won’t tweet very many.