THE POPE has called for an end to the digital divide, or something.
Pope Benedict said that the times in which we are living have seen a huge widening of the frontiers of communication. The new media of this new age points to a more "egalitarian and pluralistic" forum. But, he went on to say, it also opens a new hole, the "digital divide" between haves and have-nots.
All good stuff, and fair comment. But then his Holiness gets a bit medieval about the Internet. He said that this Internet thing "exacerbates tensions between nations and within nations themselves". And it increases the "dangers of ... intellectual and moral relativism", which can lead to "multiple forms of degradation and humiliation" of the essence of a person, and to the "pollution of the spirit".
Odd really, we would have thought that you could say the same thing about organised religion. However it looks like his Holiness thinks that the Internet is responsible for most of the evils wrought by humanity in modern times.
After all in the good old days you could hush up embarrassing things, like what priests get up to with young children, a lot easier and just burn people at the stake if they claim that the earth goes 'round the sun.
Oddly Pope Benedict has been seen as remarkably pro-technology. He has strapped solar cells on top of the Vatican roof, got his own website up and sent SMS messages to the faithful. This sudden accusation that the world wide web brings degradation and humiliation will be seen by many people as indicating that he wants to go back to the good old days when even politicians did what the Church told them to do out of fear of excommunication.
If Pope Benedict is all that worried about the evils of the web why doesn't he just exorcise his Internet connection? If he can't convert the Internet into a good Catholic force to promote his infallibility it would be better for him to take himself and the members of his theocratic state off the web. µ