One of you recently messaged me about a sordid situation arising from an association based on a Facebook "friend" so I am writing to all of you about a Catholic practice for the sake of protecting chastity and peace of soul called "custody of the eyes".
Custody of the eyes is a protection of the heart, intellect and the will based on awareness of the false glory of the world and of the sometimes misleading nature of appearances.
Except for people I know personally outside of Internet context I use social networks under an operating assumption that images may not faithfully represent the identity of the person using them and that they may not intend for such to do so. Some parents use images of their children, for example. Some persons use images that portray themselves at a younger age.
The most egregious case of sinful use of images is pornography but that is not the only way that images can be misused for deception or manipulation of others.
When you friend someone in reality you can see the real person and make judgments, such as whether a continued friendship will be beneficial or not to your salvation. On Facebook and other social media such a judgment is impossible due to the fact that images can be manipulated. falsified or stolen.
Given this reality we must protect ourselves from potential moral danger either by assuming all images are not truly faithful to reality or by friending only those people that we know. Thus a decision and action is necessary.
Failing that, there is always the option of preserving peace and heart of mind and soul, as well as a state of grace, by foregoing Facebook altogether.
Ad Iesu per Mariam,
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