Pope John Paul II once spoke about the fact that modern society is making us “incapable of true human relationships”. He spoke of how this affects young people by saying: “Prisoners of the fleeting moment, they seek to “consume” the strongest and most gratifying individual experiences at the level of immediate emotions and sensations, inevitably finding themselves indifferent and “paralysed” as it were when they come face to face with the summons to embark upon a life project which includes a spiritual and religious dimension and a commitment to solidarity.”

Social media promises us a world of endless relationship, yet it seems to steal the very thing that it promises. Our attention span for human interaction is being reduced to 140 characters. While we might like to believe that this technology is benign, the reality is that it is shaping us in how we think and live. As Marshal Macluhan once said, “We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us”.

This raises questions that should disturb us. If I find it hard to focus on face-to-face relationships without checking my phone every time I get bored, how can I talk to a God who wants to encounter me in silence? In a world filled with internet addicts, will we become a church that has lost the ability to contemplate? If we want to follow Jesus radically, do we need to change the way that we engage with modern media?