Pope Wants Nuns to Go Easy on the Tweets

Vatican urges them to use social media with 'discretion and sobriety'
By Janet Cromley,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2018 12:47 PM CDT
Pope to Nuns: Don't Be Distracted by Social Media
Pope Francis meets a group of Franciscan nuns during his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 9, 2018.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The Catholic Church has advised its 38,000 cloistered nuns to use social media wisely and with “discretion and sobriety,” reports Newsweek and the Guardian. The admonishment was issued in a document published by the Vatican known as the "Cor Orans,” which provides additional guidance on rules issued in 2016 related to cloistered life. Although the updated instruction on women’s contemplative life does not single out specific apps, it is meant to address the use of Facebook and Twitter, according to the Tablet. Nuns are not strangers to social media, and do, on occasion, speak out on it. For example, the Carmelite Nuns of Hondarribia in Spain have taken to social media to speak out against what some saw as a lenient sentence given out in Pamplona to a group of men accused of gang rape, reports Christian Today.

The paternal tone of the instructions struck a nerve with Sister Catherine Wybourne, a blogger known as the "Digital Nun" who has 20,000 followers on Twitter and has been using social media for about a decade. She met the comments with “a mixture of despair and irritation,” she wrote on her blog. “With all the world's problems, to devote time and energy to something that I think most nuns have already thought and prayed about sufficiently to have arrived at a sensible decision regarding its appropriate use, is embarrassing.” The Vatican itself is not averse to social media. It has posted nearly 15,000 messages on its Twitter news account, according to the BBC. It also has accounts on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Google+. (More nuns stories.)

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