VATICAN CITY - The Internet is a "gift from God" that facilitates communication, Pope Francis said in a statement released last week, but he warns that the obsessive desire to stay connected can actually isolate people from their friends and family.
Francis made the observations in a message about Catholic Church communications, meditating on the marvels and perils of the digital era and what that means for the faithful going out into the world and interacting with people of different faiths and backgrounds.
In comments that will likely rile the more conservative wing of the church, Francis suggested that in engaging in that dialogue, Catholics shouldn't be arrogant in insisting that they alone possess the truth.
"To (have a) dialogue means to believe that the 'other' has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective," Francis wrote.
In his message, Francis said the Internet offers "immense possibilities" to encounter people from different cultural and traditional backgrounds and show solidarity with them.
"This is something truly good, a gift from God," he wrote. But he warned that the desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us.