There is an interesting article in the Globe and Mail newspaper about the apparent havoc (believed to be disobedience?) social media, mobile technology and iPods are having on Italians trying to observe Lent. As a result, Catholic bishops in Italy are urging people to go on a high-tech fast. Wow, I could probably give up wine for a few days (and chocolate), but no cell phone, texting, email or Tweets for a week? No, I think not.
The Turin diocese is suggesting the faithful not watch television during Lent. In the northeastern city of Trento, the church has created a “new lifestyles” calendar with proposals for each week of Lent. Some ideas: Leave cars at home and hop on a bike or a bus; stop throwing chewing gum on the street and start recycling waste; enjoy the silence of a week without the Internet and iPods.
While I value the church’s sentiments and I do sometimes pretend that I am back in 1989 when I was less technologically addicted (okay, I owned a hair-crimper, so there was actually NO technology addiction whatsoever), I wonder where this will stop? Are Catholics supposed to feel bad about everything they do in this lifetime and can they ever be redeemed? And more importantly, when will people stop blaming technology for all of society’s problems? The article goes on to say that conflicts in Third World countries are a result of mobile technology production (Congo and mobile phones) and that Facebook and Myspace often isolate people from real interaction. Really?!
I wonder if anyone ever thought we’d come to this. Practising forms of abstinence by giving up technology? I guess thoughts around unplugging on weekends or “turning off” applicances to clear the mind is not a new phenomenon, however adding an element of piousness is what makes it provocative. Something to ruminate on. And since we’re ruminating, what tech device, app or just technology would you be able to give up for a week, if you knew it would get you points with the big guy?