Vatican PR aide decries Catholics who spout online hate

A Vatican communication aide has chided Catholics for turning the Internet into a cesspool of vitriol in the name of defending the faith.

Fr Thomas Rosica told a World Communications Day event in New York that sometimes Catholic conversation online is more “culture of death” than “culture of life”.

“Many of my non-Christian and non-believing friends have remarked to me that we ‘Catholics’ have turned the Internet into a cesspool of hatred, venom and vitriol, all in the name of defending the faith!” he said.

“The character assassination on the Internet by those claiming to be Catholic and Christian has turned it into a graveyard of corpses strewn all around,” said the priest.

Fr Rosica assists the Vatican Press Office with English-speaking media and runs the “Salt and Light TV” Catholic network in Canada.

“Often times the obsessed, scrupulous, self-appointed, nostalgia-hankering virtual guardians of faith or of liturgical practices are very disturbed, broken and angry individuals, who never found a platform or pulpit in real life and so resort to the Internet and become trolling pontiffs and holy executioners!” Fr Rosica said in New York.

“In reality they are deeply troubled, sad and angry people,” he said.

“We must pray for them, for their healing and conversion!”

Rather than being against everything, Fr Rosica said, we should be “known as the people who are for something, something positive that can transform lives and engage and impact the culture”.

The good news, he said, is that in the broader media universe, Pope Francis has had exactly that effect.

Graduate schools of business and management are now using Pope Francis as a case study in rebranding, Fr Rosica added.

Both Fr Rosica and his “Salt and Light TV” network have occasionally been targeted for on-line criticism, especially from conservative and pro-life Catholic organisations.


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