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

I often forget to pray before using the internet. I sometimes fail in charity when using the internet.

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.

This prayer is now 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


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.

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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  1. Bellarmino Vianney says:

    A prayer for internet use is good. Sometimes it gets a bad rap, but overall the internet is a good research tool.

    For example, with a little bit of foresight, common sense, and internet research, one can determine the likelihood that the Catholic Church has been infiltrated by nefarious actors (probably literally stage-type “actors”) – up to and including within the so-called “Traditionalist” or “conservative” “sides” of the Church. Yup, some of those plain-clothed people acting funny at your Masses may very well be Uncle Sam without the silly hat and with a handle-bar mustache instead of the odd-looking goatee.

    One way to identify the likely fraudulent/nefarious actors may be to do internet searches for those that support a “RICO” “investigation” of the Catholic Church. No sane, authentic Catholic would support Obamafeds involvement in the Catholic Church. Look what they did, and continue to do, to President Trump. And even if they are not Obamafeds, most governments are always going to be anti-Catholic. Think of all the money and property the Obamafeds could gain from a RICO investigation. Would they be honest?

    Then, too, you have certain non-Catholic pseudo-religious sects overtaking different cities that would gladly accept your 150 year-old Cathedral for use as a…well, you figure it out.

    On the other hand, the internet is also a good research tool for many other purposes. For example, a single man might be wondering whether a particular adult female he sees at Mass is compatible with him – with the outlook of potentially talking to that particular female and then possibly dating and then possibly marrying. This particular female has appeared to show interest in the man, but due to a possible significant age difference (and not wanting to embarrass her or himself), the man may have been unsure about approaching her.

    So, this man might do regular internet research (internet name searches, relative name searches and social media profile searches, etc.) to determine whether there are hints that show that the particular adult female is compatible with him, and whether he is compatible with her; doing so would prevent both persons from embarrassment should there be obvious incompatibilities discovered during said internet research, thus stopping the man from the potential introduction. Or, if both appear to be compatible, such internet research may be beneficial as well.

    Or, a person may be interested in sociology and how different people behave. Such person may regularly view social media pages (public information) of people of different generations simply to determine how people act these days.

    For example – Archbishop Sheen once said that one must know what sins are popular to be able to minister to the flock. So, a priest might check the social media pages of different age groups to know what he needs to preach on.

    Of course, if a nefarious government or non-government entity got ahold of such a priests social media use, that entity could falsely accuse the priest of various things, even though his social media use was nothing more than sociological study and/or learning what he needs to preach and pray about.

    Yes, indeed, internet and internet prayers are good things. Perhaps there can be a prayer written for protection against false accusations by nefarious entities involving internet research?

  2. Bonaventurian says:

    Revolt against the modern world

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