Posted June 10, 2015
Pope Francis offers 'Stone Age' tips to youth for living the digital world
Catholic News Service
Whether you still stick to books or magazines or get
everything online, Pope Francis said all media should encourage and edify -- not
"Back in my day -- the Stone Age -- when a book was good, you read
it; when the book was bad for you, you chucked it," he told hundreds of youth
Saturday in Sarajevo.
The pope ended his one-day visit to the capital of this
Balkan nation meeting with young people of different religions and ethnicities
who volunteer together with the archdiocesan St. John Paul II Center. He set
aside his prepared text and told the young people he would rather take some
One young man said he read that the pope had stopped watching TV a
long time ago and wanted to know what led him to making that choice.
said he decided back in the middle of 1990 to stop because "one night I felt
that this was not doing me good, it was alienating me," and he decided to give
He did not give up on movies, however.
When he was archbishop of
Buenos Aires, Argentina, he would go the archdiocesan television station to
watch a recorded film he had picked out, which didn't have the same isolating
effect on him, he said.
"Obviously, I am from the Stone Age, I'm
Times have changed, he said, and "image" has become all
But even in this "age of the image," people should follow the same
standards that ruled back "in the age of books: Choose the things that are good
for me," he said.
Those who produce or distribute content, like television
stations, have the responsibility of choosing programs that strengthen values,
that help people grow and prepare for life, "that build up society, that move us
forward, not drag us down."
Viewers have the responsibility of choosing
what's good, and changing the channel where there is "filth" and things that
"make me become vulgar."
While the quality of content is a concern, it is
also critical to limit the amount of time one is tied to the screen, he
If "you live glued to the computer and become a slave to the computer,
you lose your freedom. And if you look for obscene programs on the computer, you
lose your dignity," he said.
Later, in response to a journalist's question on
the papal plane from Sarajevo back to Rome, the pope said the online or virtual
world is a reality "that we cannot ignore; we have to lead it along a good path"
and help humanity progress.
"But when this leads you away from everyday life,
family life, social life, and also sports, the arts and we stay glued to the
computer, this is a psychological illness," he said.
Negative content, he
said, includes pornography and content that is "empty" or devoid of values, like
programs that encourage relativism, hedonism and consumerism.
"We know that
consumerism is a cancer on society, relativism is a cancer on society, and I
will speak about this in the next encyclical" on the environment, to be released
The pope said some parents do not allow their children to have a
computer in their own room, but keep it in a common living space. "These are
some little tips that parents find" to deal with the problem of unsuitable
content, he said.