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The Church of England has issued a spiritual warning to members of the clergy over social media as they claim overuse of the platforms puts people “in danger of becoming stupid”.

In a major review of trust and trustworthiness in the Church of England, social media was identified as one of a number of factors which could be “immensely destructive”.

It found that when posting online, people are “insufficiently rigorous” in checking whether the information posted is accurate.

This in turn, leaves people unsure of who they can trust.

According to the report, social media users are growing “increasingly trigger happy” when passing judgement on public figures.

“We delude ourselves into thinking we are more informed because of the ease of access to volumes of information,” the report states.

“However, through our indiscriminate use of social media we are in danger of becoming stupid in our judgment of where to place our trust.”

One suggestion in the report said: “It would be an interesting exercise in spiritual direction, wouldn’t it, to say to all of us on social media, to everybody who’s kind of a keyboard warrior, what if every single tweet and every single thing you ever said in your lifetime, was gathered into one piece of paper or document and you are asked to sit down with Christ and read it.”


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The report, titled Trust and Trustworthiness in the Church of England, was commissioned to investigate “how we repair and preserve trust in the Church’s organisations and structures”.

It was commissioned in 2022 by the Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, the Rt Revd Martin Seeley, in response to issues that emerged during his work on a separate project in 2021.

In critiquing abusive behaviour on social media, the report emphasised that its recommendation went beyond merely suggesting: "Please be nicer to one another online."

It stated that criticisms of views considered incorrect should target the opinions themselves and never the person expressing them.

The report, set to be presented to the General Synod - the church's governing assembly - next month, indicated that priests were excessively critical of church leaders and exhibited too much "autonomy" and even "separatism" from church leadership.

Some priests have been critical of the report.

Rev Marcus Walker, rector at St Bartholomew the Great in the City of London said: "This report on ‘Trust And Trustworthiness Within The CofE’ is so painfully bad. Everyone is blamed apart from the leadership, especially social media."

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