MANILA – One way to stay true to the essence of the Lenten season, especially sacrifice and repentance, is to lessen indulgence or discard the things you desire the most.
Bishop Marcelino Antonio Maralit Jr., chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) – Social Communications Ministry, said in a radio interview Saturday that among the things the faithful can do away with are gadgets, electronic devices, and access to social media.
He said he is aware of the importance of information, especially among the youth, but he noted that true meditation can be achieved if one focuses on the Lord.
“Remind our youth that in sacrifice, we often see the strength to put something aside for reasons and now at Lent, it is important so that we could spend time to do more valuable things like praying which is a big thing for spiritual growth,” he said over church-run Radyo Veritas.
The Boac prelate agreed with Pope Francis that technology is divisive, especially in a society where infodemic or excessive information that spread on social media is often unrealistic.
Maralit said that online information causes confusion so one should be “critical about what we read and what we watch”.
At the same time, he appealed to parents and elders to guide young people so they do not fall prey to fake news.
“It’s a good challenge to keep gadgets away for us to be able to reflect, that our lives are not based on gadgets, which I think will strengthen our young people, especially in relationships within the family and society,” Maralit said.
A study released February 2021 by We Are Social and Hootsuite showed Filipinos spent an average of 4 hours and 15 minutes each day on social media, a 22-minute jump from the 2020 average of 3 hours and 53 minutes.
The global average for social media usage was 2 hours and 25 minutes.
Pope Francis also previously said the internet is “an environment polluted by too much verbal violence, by many offensive and harmful words”.
“We are inundated with empty words, with advertisements, with subtle messages. We have become used to hearing everything about everyone and we risk slipping into a worldliness that atrophies our hearts,” he said. (PNA)