October 17, 2011
Cloistered monks listen as Pope Benedict leads a prayer at the Carthusian monastery in Serra San Bruno, Italy, Oct. 9.

CNS PHOTO | MAX ROSSI, REUTERS

Cloistered monks listen as Pope Benedict leads a prayer at the Carthusian monastery in Serra San Bruno, Italy, Oct. 9.

Endless news, noise and crowds have made people afraid of silence and solitude, which are essential for finding God's love and love for others, Pope Benedict said.

Progress in communications and transportation has made life more comfortable, as well as more "agitated, sometimes frantic," he said, especially in cities, where there is a constant din, even all night.

Young people seem to want to fill every moment with music and video, and there is a growing risk that people are more immersed in a virtual world rather than in reality, he said during a visit to an Italian monastery Oct. 9.

A constant stream of audiovisual messages accompanies their lives from morning to night, the pope said.

"Some people are no longer able to bear silence and solitude for very long."

Monasteries remind people of the need for silent reflection, which lets people delve into God's presence and true reality, he said.

By spending time alone in quiet prayer, people find life's essentials and unity with others, he said.