.- An article in the last issue of the bimonthly “Consecrated Life” warns of the dependence some men or women religious may develop on the Internet, when they isolate themselves from their communities and turn to the Net for new friendships and stimuli.
The religious news agency Vidivus Dominus highlighted the article, written by Comboni Father Joseph Crea, yesterday.
In his article, the priest said even the consecrated and religious are not immune to the widespread social problem of affective and sexual dependence on the Internet, which risks creating "real illegitimate and pathological behaviors."
The "lure of the Net … becomes more urgent than that of the community," wrote the psychologist and teacher at the "Claretianum" and at the Pontifical Athenaeum Salesian.
The social support a person gets on the Internet supercedes the need for interpersonal relationships, especially when such relationships have conflict or when there is an inadequate climate of friendship in one's own religious community, he wrote.
Some people also experience "deeper contact" through "virtual sexuality" created by the exchange of images or of "confessions” on the Net, he said.
Fr. Crea does not propose eliminating the Internet to solve the problem. Instead, he encourages a pedagogic approach in which others alert the person that something is not acceptable in the way he or she is living community life.
"With this approach, the consecrated person gets involved in rediscovering his own need of authenticity and conversion,” he writes. They also learn to recognize their limits and psycho-affective frailties, to return to the roots of their vocation."