4 April – St. Isidore of Seville, the Internet and YOU

I often forget to pray before using the internet. I sometimes fail in charity when using it. This tool of social communication and research and entertainment has amazing upsides, but it also has spiritually deadly perils. We all should be very careful in how we use it – and through it – use each other, “use” in the finer sense of “treat” each other.

Today is the feast of St. Isidore of Seville, Bishop and Doctor (+4 April 636). He is not to be confused with St. Isidore the Farmer. St. Isidore defended the faith against the Arian heresy, which was still around. It is amazing how tenacious heresy can be.  It still is around.

Some years ago there was chat about having St. Isidore proposed as the patron saint of the internet. He has NOT, however, officially been named such. Keep that in mind.

I was asked to write a prayer people could recite before using the internet. I wrote the prayer in Latin and submitted it, with a translation into English, to a bishop who gave it his approval.

Now, this prayer is all over the same internet (both with and without attribution!).

You will want to know why some people proposed St. Isidore for this role.

St. Isidore’s most notable work, the Etymologiae, us a massive encyclopedic work of 448 chapters in 20 volumes indexing just about everything people thought it was important to know at the time, rather like a primitive database.  I think that’s the connection.

You can, of course, pray to any saint in this matter, and nothing official about any patron for the internet has been handed down from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (which is the competent dicastery of the Holy See in those matters). Bottom line: people wanted a prayer for St. Isidore, and I wrote one. You should feel free to change the name to whatever saint you prefer. Others have proposed St. Maximilian Kolbe (+1941), St. Bernadine of Siena (+1444), St. Rita of Cascia (+1457), and the Archangel Gabriel (still around).

I am happy for people to use this prayer. I ask that you give attribution.

To see all the versions of the prayer which are now available, go HERE

If you can offer a new translation (and audio recording by a native speaker) into a language missing from those I’ve archived, please send it. To email me, click HERE.

I would also like a video of the prayer in ASL, American Sign Language.

Meanwhile, here is the English and one other as a tease:

A prayer before logging onto the internet:

Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord.   Amen.

Finally, I’m still waiting for an improved version in Klingon.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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3 Responses to 4 April – St. Isidore of Seville, the Internet and YOU

  1. msc says:

    Not that I don’t have great fondness for Isidore, but I have always favored several saints that could bilocate as good candidates for patron of the internet, since I find its elimination of distance its most notable characteristic. Alphonsus de Liguori doesn’t really need more honours, but he’d be my first choice, and Martin de Porres my second for his many excursions to remote corners of the world.

  2. Malta says:

    The internet is a dichotomy of great good good and evil, I only use it. To look at beautiful things -but there are sinister evil people out there who use it to perputuate evil.

  3. Angelo Tan says:

    An ICEL-style, I suppose: [Oh? How’s that?]

    Almighty ever-living God,
    who created us in your own likeness,
    and instructed us to seek what is good, true and beautiful
    especially in the divinity of your Only Son, Jesus Christ;
    grant we pray,
    that, by the prayers of blessed Isidore, Bishop and Doctor,
    may You always direct our hands and eyes
    only to what is good to Your sight
    and we may approach those who shall we meet
    in charity and patience.
    Through the same Christ our Lord.

    Nevertheless, Father Z, your composed prayer with approval of the Ordinary is sooooooo helpful and amazing.

    Blessings!