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Facebook is Catholic and Twitter is Protestant, says Catholic priest

Published 20/05/2015

Father Alexander Lucie Smith likens Facebook to Catholicism and Twitter to Protestantism
Father Alexander Lucie Smith likens Facebook to Catholicism and Twitter to Protestantism

Facebook is Catholic and Twitter is Protestant - according to a Catholic priest.

It's not the first time that technology has been used in comparing the two.

In 1994 Umberto Eco remarked that the Mac computer was Catholic and the PC was Protestant and now in 2015 - the two social media giants, Facebook and Twitter, have been used in a "digital illustration of respective theological worldviews".

Moral theologian Father Alexander Lucie-Smith likens Twitter to Protestantism and Facebook to Catholicism in an article for the Catholic Herald.

Likening Twitter to Protestantism he writes: "Twitter is a wonderful tool for those who wish to preach to their ‘followers’. The most famous tweeters have heaps of followers, and thus no real way of judging their audience or gauging its reaction. This disparate horde does not form a true community.”

In contrast likening Catholicism to Facebook he writes is a "congregation, a community – and that, in my opinion, makes Facebook Catholic”.

Fr Lucie Smith - a Catholic Herald consulting editor and blogger- also refers to Professor Richard Dawkins, who he says with his 1.17m followers, "mounts the Twitter pulpit to hand down lapidary truths."

The priest also echoes Umberto Eco's famous remark that the Mac is Catholic and the PC is Protestant.

He claims in his article that this is because the former is “cheerful, friendly, conciliatory” and “tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach – if not the Kingdom of Heaven – the moment in which their document is printed”, while the latter is “Protestant, or even Calvinistic” because it “allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user and takes for granted the idea that not all can reach salvation.”

He adds: “The noisiest people on Twitter hark back to the very worst of what Protestantism has to offer: protest, not reason; polemic, not dialogue; slogans rather than a theology that appeals to the careful balance between faith and reason should reign in every human heart.”

Reverend Steve Stockman of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church in Belfast said he felt while he wasn't sure of the context of the article - it was a "simplistic" view.

He said: "It's a huge statement. It's simplistic.

"I think there is far more community in Protestantism than Fr Alexander has seen.

He added:  I don't know where the context is that Fr Alexander has written this out of.

"I think Fr Alexander has strong caricatures that might just be a few centuries old."

Rev Stockman added: "It's a little insulting and surprising to me that in 2015 I'd be reading the Catholic Herald and it would be telling me what the worst thing about Protestantism is - that was slightly surprising."

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