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Many Catholics take up Facebook fast for Lent

Forget the popular Lenten sacrifices like chocolate or soda. These days, Christians observing Lent give up a major daily vice: technology.

According to the International Business Times, 1 in 3 Christians gave up technology in 2014, with 16 percent giving up social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, 13 percent putting their smartphones away for 40 days and 9 percent swearing off the Internet as a whole.

For many, giving up social media is as difficult as any dietary restriction.

"Hunger is hunger, whether you’re craving a steak or a Pinterest board," Maggie Fazeli Fard wrote for The Washington Post.

Yet, in a world where even Pope Francis is on Twitter, not everyone thinks a social media fast is the best idea. Pastor Bruce Reyes-Chow of the Mission Bay Community Church in San Francisco told NPR that rather than fasting from social media, some could use it as a tool to deepen their church connections prior to Easter.

"Oftentimes social media is allowing people to be church in a way that is unprecedented in our culture today," Reyes-Chow said. "In fact, we should figure out, how do folks use social media even more effectively to be church during this time is another way to look at it."

And as USA Today, college correspondent Megan Raposa pointed out it isn't enough just to resist tweeting too much if Christians aren't making room for God.

"Society as a whole benefits if people practice Lent proactively in a spirit of service and selflessness," Raposa wrote. "Ultimately, those habits are far more beneficial than any pious humble brag about surviving another day without caffeine or Facebook."

Email: chjohnson@deseretnews.com

Twitter: ChandraMJohnson