(Vatican Radio) During his address at the World Summit on the Information Society currently being held in Geneva, Switzerland, Monsignor Paul Tighe, the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication of the Holy See, discussed issues of new technologies, inclusiveness, isolation, as well as the role and responsibilities of emerging digital networks with regards to promoting individual and social well-being of the users.
The full text of his address is reproduced below:
Statement by Monsignor Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication of the Holy See,
World Summit on the Information Society – 2015, High-Level Policy Statements, Geneva, 27 May 2015
Mr. Secretary General,
The Holy See is pleased to have this opportunity to address this High Level Segment of the WSIS Forum and continues to be convinced that humanity is ‘entering a new era of enormous potential’ (WSIS, Geneva Declaration of Principles, 67) for human growth through emerging technologies and stresses the importance of recognizing and celebrating the capacity of these technologies to facilitate human communication, to allow for the sharing of words and images almost simultaneously across enormous distances and with people who might previously have been isolated. This in turns allows people to use the technologies to promote greater understanding and harmony among people, creating a sense of the unity of the human family which can in turn inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all (Pope Francis, 2014).
These technologies, however, will not automatically lead to a change for the better: there is a need for a determined commitment from individuals and institutions if this is to happen. Good communication is always a human rather than a technical achievement. Just because social communications increase the possibilities of interconnection and the dissemination of ideas, it does not follow that they promote freedom or internationalize development and democracy for all. To achieve goals of this kind, they need to focus on promoting the dignity of persons and peoples, they need to be clearly inspired by charity and placed at the service of truth, of the good, and of fraternity. The Holy See renews its commitment to work with all relevant stakeholders to build a people-centred Information Society (WSIS, Geneva Declaration of Principles, 20).
There is a role for Governments and International Organizations to play in regulating this environment, but there is an equally important moral or ethical obligation on all of us as individual agents to ensure that these environments are safe and humanly enriching (WSIS, Geneva Declaration of Principles, 56 – 59). Commentators frequently speak of user generated content with reference to the social networks, but we must remember also that the very culture of the social networks is user generated. If the networks are to be spaces where good positive communications can help to promote individual and social well-being then the users, the people who make up the networks, need to be attentive to the type of content they are creating, promoting and sharing. The Holy See acknowledges the unfortunate reality that discrimination and violence are being promoted on-line and invites all to avoid the sharing of words and images that are degrading of human beings, that promote hatred and intolerance, that debase the goodness and intimacy of human sexuality or that exploit the weak and vulnerable.
The Holy See urges all stakeholders to ensure that the benefits of the Information Society are accessible to all (WSIS, Geneva Declaration of Principles, 51). The more we grow in appreciation of the mutual understanding and solidarity that is achieved in authentic communication, the more we will desire that it is truly inclusive and that our conversations are accessible to all. This inclusiveness requires that we are attentive to ensure that the developing nations are not excluded from those digital networks which are promoting development and educational opportunities; in the developed world, we must also be careful that the increased digitalization of Governmental services does not serve to deny access to the elderly, the poor and the marginalized.
The Holy See wishes to reiterate the importance of dialogue (WSIS, Geneva Declaration of Principles, 52). If the digital networks are to achieve their potential in promoting human solidarity then we must foster the art of dialogue. If we are willing to listen to others, we will learn to see our world with different eyes and we will grow in appreciation of the richness of the human experience as revealed in other cultures and traditions. Our engagement with others will alert us to those basic desires to love and be loved, for protection and security, for meaning and purpose that are shared by all humans. Attentiveness to our human condition, and to the one world which we all share, alerts us to the truth that ultimately these desires can only be satisfied if we construct a society that is committed to a shared concern for the well-being of all rather than to an ethos of unbridled competition where the happiness of some can only be achieved at the expense of others. Many of the greatest threats to our future from climate change to food insecurity, and from war and terrorism to criminality, can only be addressed by dialogue and agreed forms of action. With a commitment to mutual understanding and dialogue, we will best realize the potential of the new technologies to promote a better future for all.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary General
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) During his address at the World Summit on the Information Society currently being held in Geneva, Switzerland, Monsignor Paul Tighe, the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication of the Holy See, discussed issues of new technologies, inclusiveness, isolation, as well as the role and responsibilities of emerging digital networks with regards…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday spoke to couples who are engaged to be married and told them not to be superficial as they prepare to enter into a life-long covenant of love.
In yet another catechesis dedicated to the family, the Pope chose to speak of the importance of engagement as preparation for marriage.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:
Engagement – the Pope said – has to do with trust and reliability. He said it is beautiful that two people who are engaged to be married undertake a path together during which they learn from each other, sharing and participating in this profound commitment.
It is love itself – he said – that demands deep reflection and an approach that is fully aware of what it means to enter into marriage.
“The alliance of love between a man and a woman is an alliance for life. It cannot be improvised, it is not something you do from one day to the next” he said.
And reflecting on God’s alliance with his People the Pope compares it to an “engagement”, pointing out that in passages of the Bible the Church is identified as the bride betrothed to Christ.
Speaking off the cuff to the many fiancés gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly audience, Pope Francis encouraged them to read the Italian literary classic: Alessandro Manzoni’s “The Betrothed”.
He described it as a “masterpiece” on engagement as it tells of how the two fiancés who are the protagonists of the novel are called to trust in each other deeply as they overcome difficulties and obstacles in their contrasted journey towards marriage.
Mentioning how today’s society and culture are increasingly indifferent to marriage and do not help young people in this delicate moment of their lives, Pope Francis encouraged engaged couples to follow courses of marriage preparation which he described as a precious aid as they help them reflect together on their love, their future and on the importance of faith and prayer in the life they are about to share.
The Pope concluded asking for prayers for young people looking forward to marriage, that they may prepare for the wedding day not in a worldly or banal way, but with the wisdom, hope and joy born of their faith in Christ.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday spoke to couples who are engaged to be married and told them not to be superficial as they prepare to enter into a life-long covenant of love. In yet another catechesis dedicated to the family, the Pope chose to speak of the importance of engagement as preparation for marriage.…
(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State of the Vatican, has addressed the International Conference of the C entesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice Foundation, which is meeting this week at the Vatican.
The conference, on the theme Rethinking Key Features of Economic and Social Life , featured speakers from around the world, covering topics such as:
Can Growth Continue without Compulsive Consumption?
Merit and Dangers of the ‘Informal’ Economy
An Urgent Message for Today’s World: Can Catholic Social Teaching be spread even without the Christian Faith?
In his address on Tuesday evening, Cardinal Parolin said the theme of the Conference recalled the challenge of Pope Benedict XVI to “further and deeper reflection on the meaning of the economy and its goals, as well as a profound and far-sighted revision of the current model of development, so as to correct its dysfunctions and deviations” (from the Encyclical Caritas in veritate ). He emphasized that the “main point of reference must be the dignity of the human person and the promotion of the common good.”
Cardinal Parolin noted that the Conference participants had also reflected on Pope Francis’ concerns about the current crisis, which “is not only economic and financial but is rooted in an ethical and anthropological crisis.” He continued “In these two days you have engaged in a disciplined reflection in response to these observations of Pope Francis. You have considered issues linked to the world of labour, and also economic and financial problems which can lead such activity away from its calling to the service of integral human development.”
The full text of Cardinal Parolin’s remarks can be found below:
International Conference of the Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice Foundation
“Rethinking Key Features of Economic and Social Life”
Intervention of Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin
Vatican City, 26 May 2015
We have now come to the end of this most stimulating International Conference of the Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice Foundation.
This two-day meeting has confirmed once again how your Foundation – by remaining faithful to the responsibility entrusted to it by Saint John Paul II in 1993 – can render valuable service for a wider and better knowledge of the social doctrine of the Church. It does so by promoting the application of this doctrine through robust dialogue among specialists, economists, university instructors and others who bring their life experience to the world of economics.
The theme chosen by the Conference, Rethinking Key Features of Economic and Social Life , is thus particularly significant. It recalls the challenge of Pope Benedict XVI to “further and deeper reflection on the meaning of the economy and its goals, as well as a profound and far-sighted revision of the current model of development, so as to correct its dysfunctions and deviations” ( Caritas in Veritate , 32).
It is important that the Foundation is taking up this challenge with dedication and competence, in the light of the Church’s social teaching. Its main point of reference must be the dignity of the human person and the promotion of the common good. We live in a time in which, unfortunately, the prevalent economic model reveals numerous shortcomings, dysfunctions and deviations which weigh heavily on the state of the planet’s health. These affect the ethical and moral principles which guide many forms of behaviour within the human family.
Nonetheless, it is important to realize that there are increasing demands from various sectors of society for a careful examination of how best to respond to these distortions. The ethical principles underlying the Church’s social teaching can serve as a scheme of reference and a key to interpretation in this effort.
In this context, the Foundation is awarding its second biennial Economy and Society Prize. In doing so, it helps to draw attention to the quality of original projects which can aid in developing new areas of application of the principles of Catholic teaching, and increase its influence on concrete decisions.
I give warm thanks to Cardinal Marx and to the entire jury, made up of specialists from ten countries, for their careful study and selection of the proposed texts.
It is most significant that the prize is being awarded for a book which offers a Christian view on the world of finance. This calls for an attentive, in-depth historical analysis, for already in the Middle Ages within the Catholic Church original thought and research was being developed on monetary and financial issues. History is the teacher of life, as Cicero reminds us ( De Oratore , II, 9, 36). In this field too, our rich history can undoubtedly orient an in-depth investigation into this matter of great contemporary import.
We are all aware that such a reflection is today even more necessary in a globalized world where financial activity is carried out with considerably complex means and instruments, and at times risks losing sight of its original aims, which must always be anchored in the dignity of the human person, and the common good.
The jury wished also to draw attention to two doctoral theses which show the increasing depth and number of studies on the social doctrine of the Church being pursued in different universities of the Catholic world.
His Holiness Pope Francis has addressed you on several occasions, emphasizing that “the current crisis is not only economic and financial but is rooted in an ethical and anthropological crisis” ( Address to the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation , 25 May 2013). In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium , he has stated that at the heart of this ethical and anthropological crisis is, and I quote, “the denial of the primacy of the human person. We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption” (No. 55). Symptomatic of this is the culture of waste which the Holy Father has frequently denounced, a culture which conceals a rejection of ethics, and frequently a rejection of God as well.
In these two days you have engaged in a disciplined reflection in response to these observations of Pope Francis. You have considered issues linked to the world of labour, and also economic and financial problems which can lead such activity away from its calling to the service of integral human development.
Retrieving this calling in economic life is one of the principal tasks for a Foundation such as yours, whose goals include “promoting informed knowledge of the social teachings of the Church and of the activity of the Holy See among qualified and socially motivated business and professional leaders” ( By-Laws of the Foundation , Art. 3(a), Section 1, 25 June 2004).
Pope Benedict XVI frequently stated that “every economic decision has a moral consequence” ( Caritas in Veritate , 37). Retrieving this calling necessitates returning to the fundamental meaning of such concepts as economy and development, finding adequate ways of applying them for the integral development of every person and the whole person, as Pope Paul VI encouraged in Populorum Progressio (No. 14), not only for the short term, but for the long term too.
Once again, the key to this is the moral formation of individual persons needed at every level, which can lead them to rediscover the meaning of personal and collective work in the service of integral human development.
I am grateful for the opportunity to share with you these reflections. I offer you my best wishes for fruitfulness of the Foundation’s work, which I trust will be oriented ever more fully towards the planning and structuring of the economic and financial sphere within a healthy and robust ethical framework.
(from Vatican Radio)…