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Pope: Catholics, go forth and multiply... your Twitter followers

Faithful told to convert atheists 140 characters at a time

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The Pope has urged Catholics to use Twitter as a "portal of truth" and a way of converting non-believers to Catholicism.

In a letter published today, "Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization" the Pope, a new Twitter convert, warmly endorses the Web 2.0.

"Unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world," explained the representative of God on Earth, "it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important."

Pope Benedict XVI

Go forth and share

Mulling over the occasionally inconsequential and trollish nature of social networks, the Pope suggested that we listen to the "gentle voices of reason" rather than the loudest and, we imagine, those who post the most photos of cats the most quickly.

At times the gentle voice of reason can be overwhelmed by the din of excessive information, and it fails to attract attention which is given instead to those who express themselves in a more persuasive manner.

The pontiff also appears to suggest that the devoted use multimedia to lure converts into an intimate encounter with the true faith. He must be referring to Tumblr, Instagram and YouTube. He observes:

In the digital environment the written word is often accompanied by images and sounds. Effective communication, as in the parables of Jesus, must involve the imagination and the affectivity of those we wish to invite to an encounter with the mystery of God’s love.

The pontiff urges a patient and respectful comportment on social media, where Catholics can testify to their faith "with their life" rather than by spewing lines of Gospel. He gives some final advice on social media comportment in the form of a quotation from Corinthians.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Cor 13:1).

Think about that next time you're about to hit the publish button on a link to a Reddit meme. ®

Pontiff-icate

Justin Bieber has 32 million more followers than his Holiness.

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