23 May 2023, The Tablet

Archbishop warns against cruel words on social media



Archbishop warns against cruel words on social media

Words put out on social media “can cause immense damage”, according to the leader of the Irish Church. 
PA Images / Alamy

Words put out on social media “can cause immense damage”, according to the leader of the Irish Church. 

Welcoming Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Social Communications, Archbishop Eamon Martin said that social media can create “a toxic and hurtful environment with many comments and postings about others that are downright mean and judgmental”.

Appealing to people to think about their use of online platforms, their likes, retweets, and opinions shared “including the images or gifs that pretend to be funny”, he spoke of how information can be widely shared which is blatantly false and defamatory.

“There are so many comments about people’s looks, or failings, mistakes or faults that lack any kind of mercy or understanding of human weakness and frailty,” he said.

Archbishop Martin delivered his message from Lourdes where he is on pilgrimage with the Diocese of Dromore, of which he is administrator.

“I think we all know nowadays that what we say – and how we say it – can cause immense damage. Whether it is at home, in the workplace, on social media, or in person, the comments we make about others can either build up or destroy.”

The Primate of All Ireland said that in Lourdes, people from all over the world are united in love and concern for the sick and the vulnerable and the pilgrims share a common language of prayer and praise.

Underlining that the world can be a cruel place and that the language people use is sometimes insensitive and destructive, he added, “Pope Francis is inviting us to consider looking into our hearts and asking ourselves, what’s going on in there? What kind of darkness or noise is there which would lead us to be so lacking in empathy or mercy? He reminds us of a phrase from one of the psalms which says, ‘guard your tongue from evil’. I suppose the keyboard version of that might be, guard your thumbs from evil.”


  Loading ...
Get Instant Access
Subscribe to The Tablet for just £7.99

Subscribe today to take advantage of our introductory offers and enjoy 30 days' access for just £7.99