by MEGAN FRIEDMAN – Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:45 pm ET
Wracked with Catholicguilt every time you access Facebook? Worry no longer - the Pope approves.
In a message entitled "Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age," Pope Benedict XVIgave social networking his blessing, but warned that it cannot replace real human contact. The proclamation, created for the Catholic Church's World Day of Communications, noted, "I would like then to invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible."
The pontiff encouraged social networkers to be open and honest in their communications, and to not confuse online friendships with deeper, lasting ones. "It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives," he wrote.
Though the Pope, 83, does not have his own personal Facebook page, the Vatican has made social media strides through its site, Pope2you, which links users to YouTube and Facebook pages and even an iPhone application. Who knew the Holy See was so down with the kids?