Tim Cook meets Pop Francis
Apple CEO Tim Cook meets Pope Francis at the Vatican on 22 January Reuters

When used wisely, modern means of communication such as the internet, social networks and text messages are "a gift of God" according to Pope Francis. "Emails, text messages, social networks and chats can also be fully human forms of communication," said the 79-year-old Pope in a message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Communications.

"It is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal," he said.

The message was released even as he was meeting Apple boss Tim Cook. Pope Francis had earlier admitted that he did not know how to use a computer and has confessed to being a disaster when it comes to technology. He also said that smartphones should be banned during family dinners and children should not have computers in their rooms, according to a Reuters report.

But now the Pope seems to be turning his focus on Silicon Valley's major tech players. He spent about 15 minutes in a private meeting with Tim Cook on 22 January. A week before that he had met former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt.

Adopting what seems to be a different stance to modern technology than in the past, the Pope said, "The internet could be used to build a society which is healthy and open to sharing. Social networks can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society, but they can also lead to further polarisation and division between individuals and groups."