The Pope, Lonely on the Internet

Of all the media’s favorite blood sports, media criticism has to rank near the top. No one can fret about digital technology like the journalists who seem surgically attached to their smartphones. But the ranks of self-gazing critics should doff their hats to a new, sharper-tongued peer: the headline-grabbing, Twitter-loving bishop of Rome.In his new encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis focuses mostly on environmental degradation and how it affects the poor. But over the course of more than 100 pages, he also covers a grab bag of other topics, including abortion, genetic manipulation, and the limits of technological progress. This segues into a surprisingly bitter critique of the failures of the media and the negative effects of online interactions, which he sees as fundamentally related: They both undermine human relationships, he argues.

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