(Original story on The Chicago Tribune here.)
Sure, no one lost his/her job with the declaration by the parish leaders that Facebook encourages “vanity and dishonesty” or with the parishioner’s insistence that his single status on Facebook attracted lots of “blatantly sexualized photos enticing [him] to join ‘dating’ sites.”
But what does this do to the reputation of the religion?
That’s right. It gives non-believer readers the impression that the faith is not with the times, like how All Facebook pokes fun at that particular parishioner for not knowing how to remove those ads. I could say more, but I’m not going to risk losing either my salvation or my job.
Facebook and Christianity a bad mix, Chicago parish warns
By Manya Brachear, Tribune reporter5:27 p.m. CDT, April 6, 2011
Pope Benedict XVI and Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George may have their own Facebook fan pages, but one Roman Catholic parish in Chicago warned parishioners this past Sunday about the dangers of Facebook.
“[Facebook] is exactly the opposite of the Christian culture where people go into the secrecy and sacredness of the confessional to blot out their sins forever,” St. John Cantius parish leaders wrote in the church bulletin.
The warning was directed at families trying to raise their children in a wholesome environment. It indicted social networking sites for encouraging vanity and dishonesty by providing an outlet for children to create their own electronic version of reality. It also pointed out, for example, that acronyms such as PIR (parent in room), POS (parent over shoulder) and GYPO (get your pants off) can lead children far astray.
“God entrusted parents with the care of their children for one particular purpose, and that is to teach them the way ‘to know, love, and serve God in this life and save their souls hereafter.’ Everything leads us to think that Facebook fits poorly into this plan and was devised for a very different goal.”
Parishioner Matt Abbott said he walked away from his 2,000 Facebook friends a while back because the site had become a “temptation.” For example, his single status invited a barrage of racy ads.
“I can appreciate a good-looking woman. But, as a single Catholic man who strives to remain faithful to the Church’s moral teachings, I don’t like blatantly sexualized photos enticing me to join ‘dating’ sites,” he said.
“Of course, the Internet in general — not just the social network sites — is a force to be reckoned with,” he wrote in an email. “There’s a lot of good and useful material on it, but there’s also a lot of filth.”