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Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa (CNS/Vatican Media)

The media and social networks can be crueller than wild beasts, the preacher of the papal household has told top Vatican officials and employees. Source: OSV News.

“When they point out the distortions of society or of the Church,” he said, then “they deserve all the respect and esteem,” Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa said on Friday, offering his first Lenten meditation of 2024 in the Paul VI Audience Hall.

But there should be no praise when “they attack someone out of bias, simply because he does not belong to their side” or when they are driven by “malice and with destructive, rather than constructive, intent”, the Capuchin friar said.

The reflection came after Pope Francis and members of the Roman Curia suspended their usual activities to participate in a week of personal spiritual reflection for the beginning of Lent (February 18-23). 

“Unfortunately, today there exists in society teeth that grind without mercy, more cruelly” than the teeth of wild beasts, Cardinal Cantalamessa said. “They are the teeth of the media and the so-called social networks.

“Unfortunate indeed is whoever ends up in this meat grinder today, be it a layperson or clergy,” he said.

“In this case, it is legitimate and necessary to assert one’s reasons in the appropriate forums, and if this is not possible, or it is seen that it is of no use, all that remains for a believer is to join Christ scourged, crowned with thorns, spit upon.

“It is a difficult and painful thing to say the least, especially if one’s natural or religious family is involved,” he said. “But the grace of God can make – and often has made – all of this an opportunity for purification and sanctification.

“It’s about having faith that, in the end, as happened with Jesus, the truth will triumph over lies. And the triumph will be better served, perhaps, with silence than with the most aggressive self-defence,” he said.


Woe to those who end up in media ‘meat grinder,’ papal preacher says (By Carol Glatz, OSV News