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Home News Give up SMS for Lent, says Italian bishop

Give up SMS for Lent, says Italian bishop

Published on 05/03/2009

Rome -- The bishop of Modena in northern Italy told Catholic youth to give up a popular practice during the holy season of Lent: no text messaging on their mobile phones on Fridays.

No SMS will allow young people to "detox from the virtual world and get back in touch with themselves," Monsignor Benito Cocchi said, according to the newspaper La Repubblica on Tuesday.

Italy ranks second in Europe after Britain for the number of text messages — 50 per month on average — by users of the "telefonino" — Italian for mobile phone, the newspaper said.

Other bishops picked up Cocchi’s message and urged youth in their dioceses of Bari in the south and Pesaro in central Italy to also stop texting on Fridays.

More advice on curbing over-consumption during Lent came from Trentino in the northeast, where the Catholic faithful were asked to give up driving their cars on Sundays. In Venice, Catholics were asked to drink water from the tap, instead of from bottles, to help the environment.

For Christians, Lent is a period of penance and spiritual reflection culminating in the Holy Week before Easter, the feast day marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ, to be celebrated this year on April 12.