Surf, Click, Zap Will Get You Nowhere

Aide Urges Reading and Study in Internet Age

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2009 ( In an age of surfing, clicking and zapping, there’s a need for more reading and study, says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, underlined the motto «Ora et labora et lege» (pray, work and read) on the most recent edition of Vatican Television’s «Octava Dies.»

He affirmed the «perennial relevance» of St. Benedict of Norcia’s message, which was highlighted by Benedict XVI during his May 24 visit to the Abbey of Monte Cassino. St. Benedict, known as the patriarch of Western monasticism, founded the abbey in 529.

Father Lombardi noted that St. Benedict’s message puts prayer first, as «the primacy of God and of Jesus Christ in personal and community life.»

Then, he added, the saint emphasized work, affirming that «daily toil should be humanized and spiritualized and so bring about the discovery and respect for the order of creation.»

Finally, the spokesperson said, St. Benedict urged «reading, that is, culture and education.»

Father Lombardi affirmed: «To tell the truth, we all knew about ‘ora et labora,’ but not all of us knew about the third element: ‘et lege,’ that is, ‘read, study.’

«It is not by chance that Benedict XVI brought this to our attention, a Pope in whom the synthesis between prayer, service and culture is present not only as a message, but first of all as personal testimony.»

The priest noted the Pontiff’s affirmation that «the quest for God is the original force behind the growth of European culture in its various dimensions.»

The Jesuit continued: «At Monte Cassino he took up this line of thought again, and speaking of the abbey’s archive and library, he said that they ‘contain innumerable testimonies of the commitment of men and women who meditated on and researched ways of improving the spiritual and material life of man.’

«Even in this, after 1,500 years and being destroyed four times, Monte Cassino continues to have something very important to tell us.»

«Read, study,» Father Lombardi concluded. «It is not enough to surf and click and zap, or copy and paste endlessly.»

If this principle is not practiced, he affirmed, «nothing will be left, neither for you, or for others.»

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