Spokesman: In an iPad World, Fascination Can Distract

Says Goal, Even of the Web, Is Encountering God

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 31, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Is it possible to meet God in the tangled maze of cyberspace? To this question a Vatican spokesman answers: Yes, of course, but it also depends on us.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, reflected on the conditions for evangelization on the Web during the most recent edition of Vatican Television's “Octava Dies.”

The Jesuit priest based his remarks on Benedict XVI's message for the 44th World Communications Day. The message was released Jan. 24, though the day will be celebrated in May.

In his message the Pontiff affirms that "God’s loving care for all people in Christ must be expressed even in the digital world not simply as an artifact from the past, or a learned theory, but as something concrete, present and engaging."

Father Lombardi characterized the Holy Father's message as “clear and encouraging."

But he offered a word of caution: "The believer who ventures with enthusiasm and with courage into the world of social communications -- boiling over every day with extraordinary technological novelties, from the iPod to the iPhone to the iPad -- must know well the goal that guides him so that he is not taken captive by fascination for the means and thus loses his way."

"And the goal," the spokesman recalled, "is encountering God, who is the ultimate meaning of the relationships of dialogue, friendship and sharing that the Web makes possible today."

"The traps that fill the pathways of cyberspace are countless,” Father Lombardi acknowledged, “from superficiality to falsehood to perversion. But there are also many users who seek friendship, truth and goodness.”

Father Lombardi referenced Benedict XVI’s image of the Court of the Gentiles of the Temple in Jerusalem, which was open even to those who did not yet know God, but who cultivated the desire for the absolute and enduring truths.

He concluded with an invitation to bring God's love also to the world of technology: "Let us enter the digital continent, then, with enthusiasm and creativity, courage and prudence, to discover and know how to indicate here, too, the signs of the presence of God, of his love for all."