Vatican City - Catholics should embrace social networks because of their role in spreading the faith and strengthening human bonds, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday, weeks after opening an account on the Twitter micro-blogging website.
"Believers are increasingly aware that, unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom (social networks are) important,"the pontiff said.
"The ability to employ the new languages is required not just to keep up with the times, but precisely in order to enable the infinite richness of the Gospel to find forms of expression capable of reaching the hearts and minds of all," he added.
Benedict's message was delivered on the day of St Francis of Sales, patron saint of writers, ahead of the World Communications Day, which the Vatican will celebrate this year on May 12.
Provided they are used "in a wise and balanced way" and users"make an effort to be authentic," social networks "can reinforce the bonds of unity between individuals and effectively promote the harmony of the human family," the pontiff said.
In December, the 85-year-old pope began tweeting in English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic and French. Latin - the official language of the Catholic Church - was added to the list last week.
Overall, Benedict's nine Twitter profiles have attracted over 2.5million followers.//DPA