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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis: beware of confusing “fame of sanctity” with the fame of social networks

Pope Francis addressed the participants of the "Holiness Today" conference, an event that analyzes the risks and opportunities associated with becoming saints in today's world.

One recurring theme in the conference was how the media and social networks influence the daily lives of people in the 21st century. The Pope emphasized that social networks often create brands, not people, so it is important not to directly associate people with their social media posts. 

In our days, proper access to the media can foster knowledge of how a candidate for beatification or canonization lived the Gospel. However, when using digital media, especially social networks, there can be a risk of fabrication and misinterpretation driven by less than noble motives.

Pope Francis mentioned that, in order to determine authentic holiness, it is necessary to verify that the candidate's virtues are lasting and that they withstand the trends of the times. He also recalled that it is important to see how devotion to a candidate continues over time among the people. 

The Pope invited the participants to find new saints in the people around them, which he defines as "the saints next door."

It is important to discover holiness in God's holy people: in parents who lovingly raise their children, in men and women who diligently carry out their daily work, in the people who endure illness, in the elderly who continue to smile and offer wisdom.

Pope Francis mentioned the recently beatified Pope John Paul I and the young Blessed Carlo Acutis as models of Christian joy in holiness.