A document published by the Vatican’s office for religious life claims social media is affecting “recollection and contemplative silence”.
The document said: “These means must therefore be used with sobriety and discretion, not only with regard to the contents but also to the quantity of information and the type of communication.”
The news comes despite efforts by the Catholic church to keep up with modern times, and Pope Francis’s Twitter account is followed by almost 19 million people.
The Vatican said social media for “reasons of information, formation or work, can be allowed in the monastery, with prudent discernment, for common utility.”
Responding to the document, Sr Catherine Wybourne, known on Twitter as ‘Digital Nun’, wrote on her blog: “Of course I agree with the need for discretion, but having been using social media for about ten years – probably longer than many of the clergy and others who felt it necessary to give nuns guidance on the matter – my main reaction is a mixture of despair and irritation.”
The document comes weeks after a group of nuns in Spain published protests on Facebook after a court acquitted five men accused of gang rape.
The sisters wrote in a post, which was shared 15,000 times: “We live in cloister, we wear a habit that goes almost to our ankles, we don’t go out at night [unless it’s for a (medical) emergency], we don’t go to parties, we don’t consume alcohol, and we’ve made a vow of chastity.
“Ours is an option that doesn’t make us better or worse than anyone, even if, paradoxically, it makes us freer and happier than most. And because it’s a FREE choice, we defend with all the means available to us [this is one of them] the right of all women to FREELY say no without being judged, raped, intimidated, murdered or humiliated for it. SISTER, I DO BELIEVE YOU.”