Quantcast
Latest Stories

Pope turns to Twitter, new allies to battle for faith issues


Pope Benedict XVI. AP

VATICAN CITY– Pope Benedict XVI has galvanized Catholics at the close of 2012 to go on the offensive over key faith issues, forging new alliances and fighting secularism in the West with a media campaign.

Damaging sex abuse scandals and growing opposition to the Church’s attitude toward gay marriage and women priests have forced Benedict to rethink how to communicate with the modern world and stem the flood of deserting believers.

The 85-year-old pope joined Twitter this month as part of efforts to disseminate the Catholic message worldwide, which also forced the professorial pontiff to reduce his usual reams of dense theological reflections to 140 characters.

The Vatican in June hired American Fox News correspondent Greg Burke to help modernize its communications strategy and by December Benedict had sent his first tweet which went out in eight languages to thousands of followers.

The pope’s tweets of faith may have sparked derision among some Twitter users, but they brought the Vatican widespread visibility among the digital generation, which was told that God is not dead but “knocking at the door.”

The leader of the world’s one billion Roman Catholics also took the unusual step of writing an editorial for Britain’s Financial Times newspaper, urging business and political leaders to adhere to Christian ethics and moral codes in their daily lives.

Benedict’s call to take a stand against what he views as society’s ills — such as consumerism and a wilful disregard of “traditional” family values — was repeated in his strongly-worded Christmas message which slammed the selfishness of modernity.

“We want ourselves. We want what we can seize hold of, we want happiness that is within our reach. We are so ‘full’ of ourselves that there is no room left for God. And that means there is no room for others either,” he said.

The pope also began in earnest to follow through with one of the key ideas of his papacy, calling for dialogue with atheists, agnostics and others outside the Catholic Church who are nonetheless fighting the same battles.

In a bid against gay marriage which is gaining ground in the West, he took the first steps in finding new allies.

With France, Britain and the United States soon expected to join a dozen countries where same-sex couples can legally wed, Benedict reached out to religious and non-religious people alike who respect what he called the “law of nature”.

Weighing into the heated debate, the pope cited France’s chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, who has spoken out against gay marriage.

Benedict has also mobilized top Catholic figures to beat the drum on the Church’s teachings on social issues, from the family to homosexuality and abortion.

The Vatican’s new guardian of dogma, Germany’s Gerhard Muller, Milan’s Archbishop Angelo Scola, and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the pope’s culture minister who is a keen Tweeter, are among those who have gone on the offensive.

“A small but influential group of bishops has formed around Benedict XVI and pays a great deal of attention to addressing the central questions of culture and society with weighty words,” Vatican expert Sandro Magister told AFP.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Pope Benedict XVI , Religion , Roman Catholic , same sex marriage , Social Media , technology , Twitter




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Ex-PBA player Bryan Gahol dies in road mishap
Advertisement

News

  • Napoles tags over 100 officials in pork scam – Lacson
  • Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • Sports

  • Caguioa blasts ‘no heart, soft’ Ginebra on Twitter
  • San Mig Coffee grinds out win over Alaska to force decider
  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement