Guard your thumbs from evil to make social media a more loving, caring, charitable and peaceful place – Archbishop Martin

21 May 2023

  • Archbishop Eamon Martin welcomes Pope Francis’ World Day of Social Communications message
On 21 May, Ascension Sunday, World Day of Social Communications is celebrated by the universal Catholic Church.  For his 2023 theme, Pope Francis has entitled his message Speak from the heart. According to truth in love (Eph 4:15).  Please see video and statement of Archbishop Eamon Martin welcoming this year’s message.


World Communications Day 2023 – Archbishop Eamon Martin


This year I am pleased to be marking World Communications Day here in Lourdes, where I am on pilgrimage with the Diocese of Dromore.

There’s an old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” … but i think that this is far from the truth.  I think we all know nowadays that what we say – and how we say it – can cause immense damage.  Whether it is at home, in the workplace, on social media, or in person, the comments we make about others can either build up, or destroy.

That is why Pope Francis, in his message for World Communications Day this year, is challenging us to always speak the truth with love.

Out here in Lourdes, people from all over the world are united in love and concern for the sick and the vulnerable – and the pilgrims here share a common language of prayer and praise.

But we are all very conscious that the world can be a cruel place at times and that the language we use is sometimes insensitive and destructive.

Social media, for example, can create a toxic and hurtful environment with many comments and postings about others that are downright mean and judgmental.  It is worth thinking this week about our own use of online platforms: our likes, our retweets, the opinions we share, including the images or gifs that pretend to be funny.  Apart from the times when information can be widely shared which is blatantly false and defamatory, there are so many other comments about people’s looks, or failings, mistakes or faults that lack any kind of mercy or understanding of human weakness and frailty.

Pope Francis is inviting us to consider looking into our hearts and asking ourselves, what’s going on in there?  What kind of darkness or noise is there which would lead us to be so lacking in empathy or mercy?

He reminds us of a phrase from one of the psalms which says ‘guard your tongue from evil’.

I suppose the keyboard version of that might be, ‘guard your thumbs from evil!’

If we could all do that this week the world would be a more loving, caring, charitable and peaceful place.

God bless you from here in Lourdes.


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