We first saw the concept blow up among our group of friends—both Catholic and not—last year during Lent: In the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, when you're asked to give up a vice, many chose to rid their lives of their unhealthy obsession with online social networks. I instead chose to give up fried foods and found that my friends list on Facebook was populated with "GAVE UP FB FOR LENT" images. Now, it's moved beyond a clique-based fad and moved into a full-on movement as Roman Catholic bishops in Italy are urging people to give up modern appliances and telecommunication...
Some of the ways that different Italian Roman Catholic groups are encouraging followers to fast from technology to observe Lent:
- Dioceses and Catholic groups in Modena, southern Bari and some other cities have called for a ban on text messaging every Friday in Lent. That day of the week is typically observed by simply abstaining from meat.
- The Turin diocese is suggesting honoring Lent by not watching television.
- In the city of Trento, the church has created a "new lifestyles" calendar ideas for each week of Lent, such as leaving cars at home to hop on a bike or a bus or enjoying the silence that comes with a temporay ban on the Internet and iPods.