Italian Bishops discourage use of texting, Facebook and iPods during Lent

March 4th, 2009 - 6:37 pm ICT by ANI  


London, Mar 4 (ANI): Chocolate, cigarettes and alcohol are not the only indulgences forbidden in the 40 days of Lent, for Italians have now been urged to abstain from more contemporary pleasures like texting, Facebook and iPods.

In the run-up to Easter Sunday, the Bishop of Modena, in northern Italy, has asked young Italians to give up their addiction to sending text messages on Fridays.

According to Archbishop Benito Cocchi, the modern alternatives to age-old tradition of fasting would help the youngsters “cleanse themselves from the virtual world and get back into touch with themselves, reports the Independent.

In fact, the bishops of Pesaro, on the Adriatic, and of Bari, in the south, have now introduced the idea of a “text message fast”, and more bishops are believed to do the same.

Archbishop Luigi Bressan, in the Diocese of Trento, in the foothills of the Alps, has launched a type of calendar of abstinence for his parishioners, and has dedicated each Sunday of Lent to a different sacrifice.

He has even urged Catholics to abstain from using a car, from logging into Facebook, from listening to music on MP3 players, and from playing computer games.

Also, he recommended people to use Lent to embrace recycling and called for “abstinence from egocentricity”.

In Venice, he has even suggested giving up mineral water, and drinking only tap water during Lent.

In Rivoli, also in northern Italy, a parish priest has encouraged his catechism students to drape a black cloth over the family TV, so that they can abstain from watching it, as penitence”.

In 325, the Council of Nicaea instituted Lent, which for most Christian congregations runs from Ash Wednesday to Easter.

The fast is kept to commemorate the 40 days that Jesus allegedly spent fasting in the desert and rejecting the temptations of Satan before beginning his ministry.

And the inclusion of new forms of abstinence has come in line with the Popes Ash Wednesday address, in which he emphasised the importance of Lent as a spiritual build-up to Easter and praised the age-old Christian practice of fasting. (ANI)

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