Friday, March 6, 2009

Thou Shall Not Text

Chrch sez stop txtn 4 lent.

Or, put another way, the Italian branch of the Roman Catholic Church wants its followers to forswear text messaging, social-networking Web sites, and computer games in the run-up to Easter.

While many Italians traditionally give up fatty foods or, in extremis, alcohol, the appeal to go without some of the trappings of the modern world, including Facebook, iPhones, and computer games, on Fridays—and on other days if possible—is unprecedented.

It appears to stem partly from Pope Benedict XVI’s recent warning to the young not to substitute “virtual friendship” for real human relationships.

The Pontiff warned on his YouTube site in January that “obsessive” use of mobile phones or computers “may isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development.”

Pope Benedict also has personal experience of the distractions of obsessive texting. President Sarkozy of France, a renowned technophile, came in for withering criticism for checking his mobile phone for text messages during a personal audience with the Pontiff.

The “stop texting for Lent” campaign began in the dioceses of Modena, Bari ,and Pesaro but has now spread to other parts of Italy.

Okay readers, what do you think? Has the Catholic church gone too far? Or, on the other hand, do you think this is a good idea?

Where is the strangest place you’ve seen people texting? Do people text sitting next to you in church? What about while watching a movie? Eating dinner? Where’s the strangest place you’ve texted? Care to share?


  1. I have a philosophy. Pick up your phone and call me. Don't text. I have seen texting going on everywhere but perhaps one of the strangest was in the hospital when a man's mother was dying. He spent a good part of the day on his phone texting, even in her room.

  2. Maybe he was texting his brothers and sisters and keeping them updated on the mother? or her friends? or his friends?

    I think that is what bothers me about texting. With a phone call, I can eavesdrop. With texting, I don't have a clue what you are doing.


    Yesterday on the local radio station, people were calling in to tell what they were giving up for Lent. One woman said she was giving up all forms of social networking. When asked what she would do when she wanted to connect, she said she would call someone.

    It *sounds* good, but for me, I would much rather most people just text or call me -- I do not like talking on the phone, generally. I'm not a great conversationalist, anyway, and actually talking stresses me. Virtual communication has enabled me to stay in touch I normally wouldn't without sounding like a dimwit. (Well, sometimes.)

  3. Maybe it's because I'm young, but I can't think of a "strange" place to text. I can think of lots of disrespectful times to text (church service for example), but I don't find texting weird. It's no different than talking to someone.

  4. It's actually easier to stay in touch with people through Social Networking sites and texting. I just got on Facebook (long story there) but it's amazing how many people I know who have pages. As someone who is probably going to be moving in the next 6 months, it's nice knowing there's an online place where I can keep up with people and they can keep up with me. It doesn't replace human contact for me in any way, shape or form but it's a nice addition.

  5. Um, so let me get this right - the Pope has a YouTube site to convey his messages to the masses, including one that tells people don't over-use the computer. Oxymoronic?

    I refuse to get a facebook or myspace account, as I think those forms of communication require too much of my precious time. I haven't been "penalized" or noticed any degredation in my quality of life by not having them, yet.

    Anyone remember inter-office mail and pen pals? When email hit the scene in the late 80's, and then the ability to attach documents - WOW! Talk about productivity boost!

    Now society demands that indirect communication in near-real-time. It's safer, and you can "take it back" before you send it, and the plethora of smiley's enable a wide array of emotions that can be virtually communicated. :P

  6. My daughter had the audacity to pick up her phone and try to text at the dinner table the other night. She knows better now...

    Back when I was in Thailand, I was responsible for a huge portion of our annual general meeting. WHile I was on stage in front of over 1000 people explaining to them what to do in an emergency and to tell them that if they only need more tp or towels to contact the front desk and not me, I got a half a dozen sms asking for towels and TP. Oh those missionaries.

  7. While using the restroom. Hey! You asked! lol

    Here's a little story about Austin for ya... He was noticing so many of his fellow employees texting while "on the clock" that it caused him to be convicted about his own behavior. He then went to the manager of the little store and suggested that everyone had to turn in their cell phones when clocking in and could pick them up upon clocking out. Employees were instructed to tell family/friends to call the store directly if there was some type of emergency.

    Yep.. you got it.. Austin's popularity went up big time! ;) But customer service sure did.. Kinda hard to be checking a person's groceries out when you're also texting. "Now how did that till become $20 short?" Theft is down also.

    We (hubby, self and Austin)actually do text while around the house.. But that's a different story!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I can't wait to read what you have written.