VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI is asking everyone to quiet down.
In his annual communications message released Tuesday, Benedict extolled the sounds of silence. He said a little bit of quiet makes people better listeners and better communicators by giving them more time to think about what they are hearing and saying.
And in a world inundated by Tweets and 24-hour news coverage, that precious time to think and reflect gives words greater value, he said.
"Joy, anxiety and suffering can all be communicated in silence — indeed it provides them with a particularly powerful mode of expression," he said in his written message.
Benedict has in recent years used his annual communications message to comment on social media. He has urged priests to blog and Catholics who spread the faith on Facebook and other social networks to be respectful of others.
This year, his attention turned to the need to occasionally tune out the social media information overload to allow time for greater reflection. He called for striking a balance between silence, words, images and sounds.
"By remaining silent, we allow the other person to speak, to express him or herself, and we avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being adequately tested," he said.
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