Social networks can help promote peace in Ukraine, says the Vatican prelate – Lose 20 pounds in a month diet plan

By Elise Ann Allen

ROME (Crux) – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week marks the first major military confrontation in the digital age, in which real-time shared images and videos give the world a whole new perspective on the reality of war and the spread of misinformation.

Pope Francis has also joined the choir of collaborators on social networks, launching a series of daily tweets in both Ukrainian and Russian, containing messages of peace and urging all parties to lay down their arms. (Photo: Unsplash)

One thing that has stood out since the fighting in Ukraine began on February 24 is not only the large amount of visual and written content amplified on social media platforms, but also the way this content is used.

Until now, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been one of the main protagonists in what has been called a parallel “war on social networks” that takes place online, while Russian troops are trying to push Ukraine further into the field.

His frequent posts have gone a long way in influencing pro-Ukraine public opinion, providing much-needed military support and tougher sanctions against Russia, and have also served as a source of inspiration for Ukrainian citizens fighting on the front lines.

Pope Francis has also joined the choir of collaborators on social networks, launching a series of daily tweets in both Ukrainian and Russian, containing messages of peace and urging all parties to lay down their arms.

In his first tweet about the February 25 conflict, the pontiff sent a quote from his 2020 encyclical Fratelli Tutti, saying: “Every war leaves our world worse than it was before. War is a failure of politics and humanity, a shameful capitulation, a stinging defeat in the face of the forces of evil. “

He continued to tweet daily condemning the “diabolical nonsense of violence” and insisting that “God is with those who make peace, not with those who use violence.”

Pope Francis’ day of prayer and fasting for peace on March 2 in Ukraine, which coincided with Ash Wednesday, was widely covered on the social media accounts of the Vatican and the pontiff.

Irish Bishop Paul Tighe said that this kind of advocacy and the widespread use of social media can make social media an effective tool in promoting the cause of peace.

Bishop Tighe, secretary of the Vatican’s Council for Culture and a leading figure in the pope’s communications reform set up shortly after taking office, said modern digital culture is changing the way war is waged and its opposition.

“What social media has done is bring the horrors of war very close to all of us,” he said, speaking to Crux. “It also serves in a very real way to dispel the euphemistic way we’ve talked about war in the past.”

With the help of social networks, the horrors that people face in the midst of violent conflicts suddenly become more real, and “the mistake of violence becomes very clear.”

Bishop Tighe said that digital culture and social media have also allowed individuals to have a level of power that was not possible in the past. Suddenly, “I can comment, I can report, I can say what is happening in ways that are not so easily censored.”

“It gives people an extraordinary power of communication,” he said, noting that this also requires higher levels of personal and individual responsibility for what is said or shared.

Referring to the infamous reputation that social media platforms have earned as a super-spreader of misinformation, Bishop Tighe said that especially in times of war, when the facts are sometimes difficult to ascertain, it is necessary to verify the information. before transmitting them.

“We must be very careful to exercise our own intelligence about what we share and how we engage,” he said, citing the saying, “The first victim of war is the truth.”

Bishop Tighe emphasized the importance of making a real effort to be as honest as possible on social media, focusing on what has been verified and “not just to share what is convenient, not just to share what he claims My argument, but to go back and try to ask, that would be helpful. “

“If he reveals the horrors of war, great, but can he demonize one side or the other more than necessary? We have to be careful about that, “he said, even during the war.

Emphasizing the polarizing effect that social media can often have on public discourse, Bishop Tighe said that it is natural in times of war and conflict for this polarization to be exacerbated.

This, he said, is where he believes the Pope’s social media accounts, and especially his Twitter account @Pontifex, have an important role to play.

In his posts, “The Pope brings home the objective mistake of war, that violence is always a failure, that violence cannot be the basis for peace,” said Bishop Tighe, saying the pope is calling on his followers and those who see his posts “back to a higher value, the value of peace and resistance to the idea of ​​war and harmonization and violence.”

“I think he is also trying to build a bridge, calling people to prayer, calling people to pray together for those who are suffering, to pray for peace,” said Bishop Tighe, expressing his conviction that the pope is trying to ” it catches the spark ”. almost a collective imagination of a better way to resolve the conflict. “

Pope Francis, he said, “reminds us that those involved in this conflict share essentially the same Christian faith – not all, but many share the same basic Christian faith and try to make it a point of unity and strength, calling people. let us pray for peace. ”

“Peace is so important in the Judeo-Christian tradition,” he said. to try to build a bridge to peace. “

While some criticized the pope for not publicly mentioning Russia or Vladimir Putin since the start of the war, Bishop Tighe said neutrality, especially on social media, could be a useful tool.

“Not to be aligned, to keep a strong, independent voice, which constantly calls for peace and calls people to prayer and fasting, and to be committed and open a horizon of the kingdom of peace,” is a key role that the Pope she’s trying to get him to fill up, and he’s using social media to do that, Bishop Tighe said.

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