Nuns must use “sobriety” on social media, instructs Pope
Nuns now have something to abide by in the online sphere as well as the real world, with a new document by the Vatican outlining how they should behave on social media.
The instruction, titled ‘Cor Orans’ or Praying Heart, is essentially a rulebook for social media decorum on apps like Twitter and Facebook. It’s a pretty wordy document, but it’s intended to be used to protect “recollection and silence”.
“These means must […] be used with sobriety and discretion, not only with regards to the contents, but also to the quantity of information and the type of communication,” the text reads. “So that they are at the service of contemplative life and necessary communications, and not an occasion for dissipation.”
It goes on to say that modern communication methods are allowed to be used in monasteries and convents, but purely “for the sake of information, formation or work,” rather than idle news feed scrolling.
In 2016, Pope Francis released a document titled ‘Vultum Dei Quaerere’ (Seeking the Face of God). It is the latest ruling and mandate for women’s’ monasteries, going into some detail about social media use, but ‘Cor Orans’ is a document that addresses the subject explicitly.
The guidance comes as a high-profile story about nuns in Spain made headlines last month. According to the BBC, an order of nuns took to Facebook to comment on a case that involved a group of men who were accused of gang rape, given controversially lenient sentences.
“Because it is a free decision, we will defend with all means available to us (and this is one) the right of all women to freely do the opposite without being judged, raped, intimidated or humiliated for it,” the order wrote on their Facebook page.
It’s not clear whether the new instructions have come about because of that specific Facebook post. According to the church, the aim of the guidance is to safeguard the identity and mission of the contemplative orders of nuns.
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