back to article The internet is 'a gift from God' says Pope Francis

Pope Francis has shared his thoughts about the Internet, declaring it a wonderful thing but also expressing worries that it impair human relationships and inflict a kind of commercial violence on users. Francis' thoughts are published here under the title “"Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter" - …

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  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    He should know

    > it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas

    and no religion would want that, would it?

    1. LarsG

      Gift From God?

      Pornography and Catholic Priests?

      "He should know"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He should know

      The Internet gives people access to information and education - religions do not want that - they want to have control and be the source of information (albeit often out-of-date, incorrect or dangerous).

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: He should know

        "they want to have control and be the source of information (albeit often out-of-date, incorrect or dangerous)."

        A couple of thousand years out of date in most cases. But that doesn't stop the suckers... sorry , the faithful , from believing.

      2. Euripides Pants Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: He should know

        "The Internet gives people access to information and education - religions do not want that - they want to have control and be the source of information"

        That makes religions no different than any other human organization. You could say the same thing about governments, corporations, the MPAA, the RIAA, etc.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: He should know @ Euripides

          "That makes religions no different than any other human organization. You could say the same thing about governments, corporations, the MPAA, the RIAA, etc."

          Given that the levels of education in most Western countries at least, where the influence of religion has been reduced, have increased dramatically in the last 200 years, then I'd say you are provably wrong in your assertion that "any other human organisation" wants control and information. I'd also have to be fair and say that a lot of the impetus for universal education, at least in Britain, came from non-conformist religions. So, that's two strikes against your comment.

          Really, the accurate statement would be "That makes some religions no different than some other human organisations, like some governments and corporations, and the MPAA and RIAA."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: He should know @ Intractable Potsherd

            Don't forget to correct the original poster too.

          2. Tex Arcana

            Re: He should know @ Euripides

            Religions are the prototypical and quintessential corporations: they are both pyramidal organizations that have a person in charge at the top who didn't earn the spot, who abuses the power of the position, and who screws the hell out of the people at the bottom of the pyramid who do the real work.

            Religions and corporations also perpetuate the worst atrocities against humanity, and both seem to think they are above the rule of law. They are both designed to take as much money from people as they can, while delivering a substandard and/or dangerous product. They also corrupt governments in order to perpetuate their crimes, as well as their stranglehold upon the collective throats of the people.

            So you can continue to kiss the collective assessment of the Poop and corporate CEOs; but all you'll get from it is a foul taste in your mouth and an empty wallet. And you're a fool if you believe otherwise.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: He should know @ Euripides

              The regimes led by Mao and Stalin perpetrated more murders than anyone in the last century. And they were upstanding Godless atheists, just like you.

              But hey, keep ranting about corporations like some 11 year old.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: He should know @ Euripides

                @AC

                "The regimes led by Mao and Stalin perpetrated more murders than anyone in the last century"

                Interesting to note what the religions of peace and love use as a benchmark. Cruel dictators who just happen not to believe in a god.

        2. Tex Arcana

          Re: He should know

          "'The Internet gives people access to information and education - religions do not want that - they want to have control and be the source of information'

          That makes religions no different than any other human organization. You could say the same thing about governments, corporations, the MPAA, the RIAA, etc."

          It's about time someone else made that connection...

  2. Jill Kennedy

    Pope Francis has jumped the shark:

    http://mankabros.com/blogs/god/2013/12/11/has-pope-francis-jumped-the-shark/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Trolling for links / clicks??

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But daemons run the internet.

    1. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
      Angel

      Holy Frank!

      Revealed at last: on the seventh day of creation, the Lord cast a social network around the earth, so that His creatures might spread the Gospel. And He saw it was a good thing, ere the Master of Daemons came and subverted it, so that it might bring forth consumption and manipulation of mortal (wo)men.

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    This could be interesting

    "Whenever communication is primarily aimed at promoting consumption or manipulating others, ..."

    Is he talking about advertising? Will advertising industry executives be excommunicated?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    So it wasn't a gift from all those hard-working, hard-thinking science-and-engineering types afterall?

    1. LaeMing Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: This could be interesting

      I can think of many appropriate words starting with 'ex-' that industry executives should be subjected to!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This could be interesting

        ExcommuiCASTRATED - or perhaps that something some Catholic Priests should have done?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Makes you wonder!

      What else has the church been giving God undue credit for in the last 6000 years?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Makes you wonder!

        It'd be kind of difficult to name anything given that the church is under 2000 years old. Indeed the very term "church" is Christian in origin.

        What else have anti-religious types distorted to grind their particular axe when the simple plain facts show the arguments to be what they are?

        Sure, the Catholic church has it's fair share of blood on its hands, but if you want to call a spade a spade I suggest starting a little closer to home.

        1. frank ly Silver badge

          @AC 06:29 Re: Makes you wonder!

          You missed the joke and you missed the point. Double fail.

        2. cyborg
          Trollface

          Re: Makes you wonder!

          "What else have anti-religious types distorted to grind their particular axe when the simple plain facts show the arguments to be what they are?"

          He's just following the Pope's lead on the distorion of the simple plain facts.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Makes you wonder!

        "What else has the church been giving God undue credit for in the last 6000 years?"

        Abuse?

      3. AbelSoul

        Re: Makes you wonder!

        > What else has the church been giving God undue credit for

        Not always directly from a church but whenever a hard working team of rescuers risks their lives to save someone from, e.g. an earthquake fuelled collapsed building, there's always some tadger eager to redirect the credit and gratitude to some "God," completely ignoring the fact that, if their absurdly ridiculous claims were true, said "God" would also have been responsible for causing the damage in the first place.

        "Hallelujah! Praise the Lord for killing little Jimmy's entire family and all his neighbours but not little Jimmy himself."

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Makes you wonder!

          Well all my academic successes have apparently been due to my grandmother praying for me

          I wish I had known about this in advance - I wouldn't have had to do any work.

          It's also damn sporting of God to help somebody get an AstroPhysics PhD

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Makes you wonder!

            http://img.moonbuggy.org/the-prayers-of-my-family-are-keeping-me-alive-doc/

            WARNING: the above link is safe, but the rest of the site may not be! Be careful if you wander off the linked page.

    3. Christian Berger Silver badge

      A different worldview

      I think he's referring to the motivation they had. The Internet as we know it today was not invented for the money. It's foundation was invented to provide communications even during war, most of its services were invented in universities to promote the sharing of information and knowledge.

      The Internet, unlike other networks, was made in a spirit of openness and sharing. In Roman Catholics this is called the "holy spirit". They consider the feeling you get when you write some software and you suddenly realize that it's used around the world by thousands or millions of people a religious experience.

      The fundamental question why people act that way is because god set it up so they would be like that, at least according to Catholics.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. alain williams Silver badge

      Manipulating others

      He must be referring to the church itself, after all it is an expert organisation at convincing people that its mythology is true -- in the fact of facts and lack of evidence.

      The violent agression is what they threaten will happen to you in a supposed after life if you don't do what they say.

    5. boltar Silver badge

      "So it wasn't a gift from all those hard-working, hard-thinking science-and-engineering types afterall?"

      No no no , you misunderstand - those guys may have apparently thought it up but in reality it was God who gave them their insight.

      Sadly the old man sitting on his cloud doesn't seem to be ready to give anyone the insight into a cure for all cancer , poverty or climate change to name a few. But I'm sure he'll get around to it when he's ready. I guess all the billions who've died in pain and suffering over the years still haven't quite met his misery quota. Or perhaps they were all just sinners. Isn't that right religious sheep?

    6. Euripides Pants Silver badge

      Re: Will advertising industry executives be excommunicated?

      That would be a good start

    7. Peter Johnstone
      Thumb Up

      Have a thumbs up..

      .. for beating me to it!

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The world according to an inglorious bastard child and naive puppet

    “Whenever communication is primarily aimed at promoting consumption or manipulating others, we are dealing with a form of violent aggression like that suffered by the man in the parable, who was beaten by robbers and left abandoned on the road.”..... Pope Francis

    Here be a serial offender and pretender to a right dodgy throne of thorns? ...... Pinocchio

  7. Daniel Palmer

    Was this..

    before or after god invented paedophile priests and methods to hide their activity from the flock? Was the internet needed before their introduction? god really is a tricky guy.. inventing all this technology that uses horrible sciency stuff that directly contradicts the bible. It's like he doesn't exist at all.

  8. Steve Brooks

    Well what do you know, next thing you know the church will be making Alan Turing a saint, hang on didn't they already kill him with homosexual discrmination? How does it feel, Mr Pope, to be praising something as a gift from god that relies on modern computers while at the same time knowing that the man who helped create modern computers was a sinful homosexual who assuredly went directly to hell after the twin sins of homsexuality and suicide. Hypocritical bastard, I hope this modern method of communication gets my message to him, mind you his no doubt heavily censored link to the world outside the vatican won't let him see ideas and opinions his minders don't want him to hear or see.

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Well first you have to know that Alan Turing is not as widely known in places outside of the UK as he is inside. If you'd ask a random person in Germany for example, they'd have no idea.

      It's very likely he has never heard of Alan Turing, so he probably has no opinion on that case as of yet.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Alan Turing is the elder brother of Miley Cyrus!!

        Well, people can't into history of science shocker. Ask anyone inside the UK about Turing and get the same blank look.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      didn't they already kill him with homosexual discrmination

      Er no, you seem to be under the impression that the British Government takes its orders from the Pope. It doesn't ("The Bishop of Rome shall have no jurisdiction in the realm of England"). And Francis has already said it isn't up to him to judge gay people.

      What's more, if you would kindly keep up, he is doing his best to weaken the Vatican and is getting his information from outside it. His latest is to throw a spanner in the works of the canonisation of Pius VI by opening the Vatican's wartime archives - with the approval of well know Catholic sympathisers like the Jerusalem Post.

      As I note above, I'm an agnostic. But all those Catholics won't suddenly become Pastafarians overnight, or even in a 50 year timescale, and this guy needs to be given credit for trying to turn the supertanker round, even if he has to disconnect the controls from the bridge and yank on the rudder himself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: didn't they already kill him with homosexual discrmination

        .So _that's_ the huge ship I've been avoiding all my life!

      2. boltar Silver badge

        Re: didn't they already kill him with homosexual discrmination

        "What's more, if you would kindly keep up, he is doing his best to weaken the Vatican and is getting his information from outside it."

        When/if he ever gets around to endorsing contraception so that the incidence of unpleasant STDs and unwanted children drops in developing countries THEN I'll believe he's a force for change. In the meantime he's just rearranging the deckchairs on the SS BusinessAsUsual.

      3. Fink-Nottle
        Meh

        Re: didn't they already kill him with homosexual discrmination

        > disconnect the controls from the bridge and yank on the rudder himself.

        So ... the Pope is trying to change public opinion about gays by yanking on the rudder himself?

        They want you, they want you

        They want you as a new recruit

  9. Churro Joe
    Angel

    Pope in believing in God shocker

    Is he saying that God invented the internet but was wrong to do so?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pope in believing in God shocker

      The reality is religion and god want to take credit for all the 'good' that happens but none of the blame for any of the 'bad'. Strange thing is most people seem to accept this or view it at a very personal level as in 'thank be to god I missed that flight (that crashed)' but clearly no thought (or blame on god) for the person who got their seat and was killed along with the rest - no that was just god being mysterious or not caring or ??

      1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

        Re: Pope in believing in God shocker

        Mysterious, I would say. It's our job to work out the mystery.

        Put it this way, where do you get the idea that a plane crashing and people dying is an intrinsically "bad" thing?

        1. returnmyjedi

          From Breaking Bad?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pope in believing in God shocker

          Mystery - there is no mystery - he / she / it is almost certainly not there but I can't prove that any more than you can prove he / she / it is - unless you are going to descend to 'but the [insert preferred religious test] says'.

          If you do not see people dying in a place crash as subjectively bad - guess you will try and paint children dying in a tsunami or from childhood leukaemia as 'good' as surely it was just the will of god or perhaps punishment for homosexual activity?

    2. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Pope in believing in God shocker

      and I always thought that it was Al Gore who invented the Internet!

    3. Platelet
      Devil

      Re: Pope in believing in God shocker

      God invented the internet

      The Devil added the porn

      Man liked the porn

      Man made the internet faster

      1. Martin Maloney
        Happy

        Re: Pope in believing in God shocker

        "Man made the internet faster"

        And he did it, typing with only one hand.

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Mushroom

    It's like it's "The Industrial Revolution is the Devil's Work" again.

    Humans pull themselves out of universal utter shite a bit => It was God!! (this actually means, as member of God's Own Franchise, "pay me")

    Living standards improve => This is bad. You must put scare quotes around "better off". Believe in solidarity and communitarian lifestyle instead!! Repent!!!

    It's like having an economist professsor tell you that your lifestyle is rotten, too affluent and somehow undeserved (why are you putting tail fins on your car?) - definitely not socialistic enough - and that you better get on with the War On Poverty. Yeah John Kenneth Galbraith, I'm looking at you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's like it's "The Industrial Revolution is the Devil's Work" again.

      Define "living standards improve".

      For a lot of people in sub-Saharan Africa living standards have gone backwards since the 1950s. The downside of our improved living standards in the West is that some of the improvement has come off the backs of poor people in the Southern Hemisphere.

      And; "living standards improve". Some things are vastly better; modern medicine has better outcomes than it did in, say, the 1970s. Roads are safer. Life expectancy is a bit longer. The smoking ban has been wonderful for asthma sufferers. But...

      Houses and gardens are smaller and more expensive. Traffic is heavier. Social stratification is more rigid and inequality is a lot more visible. I know I'm an old fart, but my grandchildren live in a society which has in some ways regressed relative to the 60s, when I grew up. Sure, they go to State schools, but they go to highly desirable State schools in an area where the house price premium is probably around half a million pounds. The parents are going to be expected to fund their degrees, instead of a grateful State paying me to go to university and relying on me to pay more tax later on. Meanwhile, that housing bubble means that my taxes are going to the Duke of Westminster et al in housing benefit, and the people priced out of the market are blamed for this as if house price hyperinflation was something they caused.

      Economics professors have tried to value intangibles, and it isn't easy. But simple minded capitalist progressivism isn't, in my view over a 50 year timescale, an adequate philosophy.

      1. Tex Arcana

        Re: It's like it's "The Industrial Revolution is the Devil's Work" again.

        "Economics professors have tried to value intangibles, and it isn't easy. But simple minded capitalist progressivism isn't, in my view over a 50 year timescale, an adequate philosophy."

        Economics is like "political science": both utterly worthless fields based upon questionable "science", using illogical and broken "math" to prove spurious "theories" that just dupe the ignorant into thinking they know what they're talking about, enabling them to separate the rubes from their money.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't remember the bible telling us anything about the Internet - plenty about looking after animals and slaves though - but guess that was more important for a book written by man 2k years ago. Perhaps we need Bible 2.0 or for the whole thing to be understood for what it really is.

    1. cyborg
      Alien

      We've got a couple of those in the form of the Muslim and Mormon Holy texts.

      Hmm... maybe Dianetics as well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ... and people still fall for it. Yes I'd have a lot of faith in religious book written by a sci-fi writer - right. It would probably make a decent read if people treated it as sci-fi and not religion.

        Maybe Jedi really should be a religion on that basis and George Lucas could pay no tax on his huge wealth??

        Maybe Vodafone should rebrand as Godafone - call itself a religion and pay no tax - oh they don't pay much anyway ;-)

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If religions had to pay tax (as they should) do you think they would 'relocate' to Vatican City or some tax haven?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Mormon Holy texts"

        I defy anybody with a functioning brain to read the Book of Mormon without the feeling that their brain is dissolving into grey goo and seeping out of their ears. If anybody wonders how the sacred writings of the Jews retained credibility for so long, read the Book of Mormon, reflect that there are Mormons, including apparently highly intelligent ones like Mitt Romney, and note that parts of the Bible really are very well written.

        No, we do have Bible 2.0, but it's in the form of psychology, economics and sociology textbooks. In a hundred years or so when the dust has cleared on research in these rather young subjects, perhaps there will be a canon.

        Though, given the way that the Adam Smith Institute doesn't ever seem to have read the works of the said Adam Smith, just as most Christians seem to have missed out most of the New Testament in their reading, perhaps we shouldn't hope for too much.

        1. Tex Arcana

          Re: "Mormon Holy texts"

          "No, we do have Bible 2.0, but it's in the form of psychology, economics and sociology textbooks. In a hundred years or so when the dust has cleared on research in these rather young subjects, perhaps there will be a canon."

          Science has no "canon": it's all theory that is open to disproof and change. Only religions and corporations have canon and do GM 's and will execute you for questioning them.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Pish and tosh!

    Everybody knows that the internet is the work fo Herr Albert Gore and no one else.

  13. Cream_DJ
    Angel

    Is the Pope saying...

    That Tim Berners-Lee is God? All hail TBL :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is the Pope saying...

      yes, let us bow down to his godliness....

      He is certainly more deserving of reverence than the pope or the Catholic church...

  14. AndrueC Silver badge

    This is something truly good, a gift from God

    No, it isn't. It was invented by human beings.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But God was made in our image!

      (I understand Noah told God not to eat so may of the sugar-free Gummi Bears but the invisible fucker never listens)

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      This is something truly good, a gift from God

      No, it isn't. It was invented by human beings.

      Are you talking about God or the internet?

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Well, both were, but I meant the latter.

  15. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    FAIL

    Whenever communication is primarily aimed at <...> manipulating others,

    we are dealing with a form of violent aggression

    And once a week the local vicar stands in his shoes for the sermon, with the purpose of what exactly? Obviously not manipulating others, since that would be a form of violent aggression.

    Oh, wait.

    Ah yes, I remember. We're speaking of religion here. Think as I tell you to or I will kill you. Suffer in life that you may have paradise after your death. Accept as sensible that half the human race is inferior by definition, and that the other half also have to do as they're told, on pain of eternal damnation.

    Crawl back under the stone age rock you came from, Religion.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Whenever communication is primarily aimed at <...> manipulating others,

        A clergyman agnostic to god - sounds a bit of a hypocrite - I mean I'd prefer that to a delusional person who cherry picks or mis-represents passages from the bible (perhaps they should read some of the stuff about slavery, genocide / killing in the name of god etc.) for their congregation but people certainly do not need to be religious to do good things.

        The problem is time, effort and benefit is wasted with the addition of proselytising. Then in places like in Africa when they may provide help for aids victims while at same time telling them that condoms are a 'plot' and actually give you aids or make you sterile or similar. Secular organisations also provide this help and genuine advice but without the bible bashing.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All that negative comment

    I'm at best an agnostic, but it gets me that Francis seems to have a better handle on the pros and cons of the Internet than any politician I've ever listened to. He has a nuanced view, and his remarks about the way it has been taken over by commercial interests are to the point. He is no Luddite. He isn't perfect, some of his views are pretty out of date, but with what, getting on for a billion Catholics in the world, whatever you think of organised religion it's better to have someone at the top that has a clue about the modern world than someone who doesn't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All that negative comment

      "getting on for a billion Catholics in the world"

      If 1BN catholics can get it wrong, 1BN fakebook users are also wrong!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All that negative comment

        So if we have a billion catholics how many are other christians and are they 'wrong' - then let's see the worlds population is about 7bn so what about the other 2/3rds are they 'wrong' - or are they all wrong? ;-)

  17. Forget It

    BTW, He could be right if

    it helps you know know

    "who is my neighbour?"

  18. Winkypop Silver badge
    FAIL

    Religion

    Nothing but special pleading all the way down.

  19. Grease Monkey

    “This is something truly good, a gift from God.”

    Sums up so much religious thinking doesn't it? If it's good it must be a gift from God. That being the case mankind might as well stop trying to innovate because the good stuff obviously just happens becasue God wants it to.

    Bad stuff? Well if you can't blame the devil most of it is down to the free will of man isn't it? How come good stuff never seems to be explained by the free will of man, only the bad stuff?

  20. Stefing

    If God invented the internet...

    then Tim Berners-Lee is God!

    1. Miek
      Coat

      Re: If God invented the internet...

      He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!!!

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: If God invented the internet...

      Many spiritual texts agree that there are seven levels of enlightenment through which a soul must pass before communion with the divine. A little like the OSI model.

  21. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    In other words

    Pr0n is good, ads are bad - you hear that, Google?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't know my neighbour

    but thanks to the internet I know all about them (nethouseprices, linkedin, facebook, zoopla, 192.com)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't know my neighbour

      My mum's neighbour was stoopid enough to have an open Wi-fi connection. Very Christian of them indeed.

  23. NotWorkAdmin

    A billion Catholics and yet

    Vatican's YouTube channel, 80000 subscribers. Comment's always disabled.

    DarkMatter2525's YouTube channel closing on a quarter of a million. Comments always welcome.

    Read from that what you will. I'm not so sure religon is keen on freedom of information.

    1. Joseph Haig

      Re: A billion Catholics and yet

      On Twitter:

      @Pontifex - 3.5 million followers

      @RichardDawkins - 0.8 million followers

      And your point is what, exactly?

      I took the trouble to look up the Vatican's YouTube channel. Yes, it only has 80,000 subscribers. No, most of the videos do not have comments disabled. Read from that what you will but please don't cherry-pick data to fit your opinions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A billion Catholics and yet

        "On Twitter:

        @Pontifex - 3.5 million followers

        @RichardDawkins - 0.8 million followers

        And your point is what, exactly?"

        The point is, 3.5M people are easily fooled! Don't believe me? Fakebook has over 1BN "followers".

        Those figures ain't "cherry-picked".

        1. Joseph Haig

          Re: A billion Catholics and yet

          Those figures ain't "cherry-picked".

          I think you are missing the point.

          The comment I was replying to pointed out that "Comments always disabled" on the Vatican YouTube channel while on a randomly selected anti-religious channel "Comments always welcome", the implication being that the former wants to discourage discussion (and, by extension, so do all religions) while the latter encourages it. The "cherry-picking" is that the "fact" that this conclusion is based on is rubbish.

          Regarding the numbers of followers on Twitter or YouTube, both are equally meaningless with regards importance. Otherwise, charlieissocoollike should be considered a far greater authority than both the Vatican and DarkMatter2525.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A billion Catholics and yet

        @Pontifex - 3.5 million followers

        @RichardDawkins - 0.8 million followers

        Apples and oranges. Dawkins makes most atheists cringe. Comparing followers of Westbro Baptist Church to Dawkins would be fairer.

  24. Crisp Silver badge

    It was a gift from Tim Berners Lee

    Although, I could see how you could confuse him with a god.

  25. codejunky Silver badge

    "Pope Francis has shared his thoughts about the Internet, declaring it a wonderful thing but also expressing worries that it impair human relationships and inflict a kind of commercial violence on users."

    Impair relationships like oppression of gays? Inflicting commercial violence on users as the church was famed for and is pretty wealthy.

    "The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful, but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests"

    Such as there is a god, you are nothing but a servant or you will suffer eternal damnation, you must believe and everyone else is wrong?

    “Whenever communication is primarily aimed at promoting consumption or manipulating others, we are dealing with a form of violent aggression like that suffered by the man in the parable, who was beaten by robbers and left abandoned on the road.”

    So beware of manipulation because it is the devil trying to take you from god. Do as we say and we will save your souls. Honest :D

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WTF? This man needs sectioned!

    "The internet is 'a gift from God' says Pope Francis"

    Why does any one actually listen? Why has he not been sectioned into a mental hospital for the protection of society?

    Dangerous!

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: WTF? This man needs sectioned!

      And the floods of spam are God's punishment for allowing homosexuals online?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oi! Pope!

    Did god make the TCP/IP model or HTTP?

    Which part of the internet, and when did he make it? Back in the 60's or in the 80's?

    You need to clarify that synaptic misfire!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People can *think* what they like, as long as it's in the privacy of their own home.

    Religion has no place in civilised society. Keep religion out of politics too.

    We need to help these poor deluded people to understand that a story is a story. No matter how good it is, and is not real.

    Pity.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Didn't the so called God gift humanity before?

    Some kind of apple wasn't it?

    How did that turn out again?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      That was all down to Eve not holding it the right way.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is that Facebook or the NSA he's referring to?

    I think it may be TESCO

  31. Peter Simpson 1
    Linux

    The Internet may be a gift from God...

    ...but Linux is from Linus. I know, I saw the email.

    All Hail Linus, giver of Linux!

  32. LaeMing Silver badge
    Happy

    Silly Pontif!

    GORE invented the internet, not GOD. GORE!*

    ...

    * yes, I am well aware Gore only really claimed to have invented the expression "information superhighway".

  33. SteveK

    So will IPv6 be the second coming?

  34. Martin Maloney
    Coat

    Gifts can be rescinded

    If Pope Francis didn't like an email that you sent to him, would he then excommunicate you?

  35. phil dude
    Pint

    common themes...

    In reality, the common theme is about a human's right to think for themselves. In the spirit of enlightened self-interest, control of ourselves is really the only thing we have. Giving it to some other authority, well, that's not natural ;-)

    P.

  36. herman Silver badge

    Al Gore

    Wow, Al Gore has been promoted to god status now?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has God got a website?

    1. Tex Arcana

      "Has God got a website?"

      Yep: www.pedopriestsandnuns.xxx

  38. Vociferous

    Best pope since... well, ever, I think.

    He seems a genuinely good guy, sincere and intent on dragging the church into the 21st century, and has in a short while done a lot of good things, from kicking out hundreds of pedophile priests and fighting corruption in the Vatican to furthering the cause of women in the church. He's worlds better than any of the recent popes, and that includes the arch-conservative and bafflingly popular John Paul II.

    If he keeps this up I may have to stop disliking the catholic church.

    1. Tex Arcana

      Re: Best pope since... well, ever, I think.

      "...the arch-conservative [Nazi] and bafflingly popular John Paul II."

      Let's get it right, shall we?

      I won't change my mind about them until they dissolve and liquidate the entire "religion", as well as declare the "bible" as just a bunch of Jewish fairy tales.

  39. techmind

    Well, I don't know about you, but...

    ... I feel I've been sensing a rising tide of evil on the internet in the past year. Increasing volumes of virus/trojan-loaded email, Cryptolocker, malicious redirects, fake 'download' buttons (ads), video-ads with sound (what right do they think they have!), email addresses which should only be known to banks now receiving spam/trojans.... Sure this has been bubbling around for many years, but I somehow think a threshold has been crossed.

    Even "legit" online advertising (via Google ads, or on Facebook) seems to be getting increasingly murky - to the point where I'm considering removing Google ads from my website (the income has steadily fallen, and I don't wish to be associated with the bad stuff).

    Dislike.

  40. Roj Blake Silver badge

    The internet is a gift from God?

    Does that mean that Al Gore now thinks that he's the second coming?

  41. liquidsmoke66

    It's free then?

    A 'Gift' you say? Thats awesome! So if the Vatican could just forward me their bank details I will get the direct debit transferred ;)

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