CHICAGO — Pope Benedict XVI and Chicago's Cardinal Francis George may have their own Facebook fan pages, but one Roman Catholic parish in Chicago warned parishioners this past Sunday on the dangers of social media.

"(Facebook) is exactly the opposite of the Christian culture where people go into the secrecy and sacredness of the confessional to blot out their sins forever," St. John Cantius parish leaders wrote in the church bulletin last Sunday.

The warning was directed at families trying to raise their children in a wholesome environment. It indicted the social networking sites for encouraging vanity and dishonesty by providing an outlet for children to create their own electronic version of reality. It also pointed out, for example, that acronyms such as PIR (parent in room), POS (parent over shoulder) and GYPO (get your pants off) can lead children far astray.

"God entrusted parents with the care of their children for one particular purpose, and that is to teach them the way 'to know, love, and serve God in this life and save their souls hereafter.' Everything leads us to think that Facebook fits poorly into this plan and was devised for a very different goal."

Parishioner Matt Abbott said he walked away from his 2,000 Facebook friends a while back because the site had become a "temptation." For example, his single status invited a barrage of racy ads.

"I can appreciate a good-looking woman. But, as a single Catholic man who strives to remain faithful to the church's moral teachings, I don't like blatantly sexualized photos enticing me to join 'dating' sites," he said.