This editorial, titled “Three questions to consider before posting or commenting on social media,” was published online June 15 by The Catholic Post, newspaper of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois. It was written by Tom Dermody, editor:
Is social media a blessing or a curse? Arguments for the latter would point to the addictive nature of the likes of Facebook and other interactive technologies, how they actually decrease face-to-face communication skills, and the divisiveness and nastiness seen online, especially in comments.
But among the positives is how quickly a prayer request can spread, as evidenced on The Catholic Post’s Facebook page this week.
A brief notification of the June 9 car accident involving three Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George from Rock Island that included an invitation to prayer was widely shared, quickly reaching 30,000 users and drawing more than 400 comments.
That mushrooming of prayer happened just as the Catholic Media Association, of which The Catholic Post is a member, was having a virtual 2021 convention.
Among the topics was the use of social media. Bishop Robert E. Barron, an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles and one of the church’s foremost experts and utilizers of various media, offered three questions that everyone should ask before they post a topic or comment on social media.
First, he said, ask: “Is it true what I’m saying?” Second, “Is it loving?” — which Bishop Barron defined as “willing the good of others.” And finally, in terms of evangelization and especially on matters affecting the church during a time of division: “What would an unevangelized person think of this?”
We think those are suggestions worth sharing, both in social media and in print.