Pope Benedict has urged Catholics to develop their faith and technological expertise in order to “add soul to Internet communications”.
Addressing participants in a national conference called: ‘Digital Witnesses: Faces and Languages in the Cross-Media Age’ on Saturday, the Pope said: “Without fear we want to set out upon the digital sea embracing the unrestricted navigation with the same passion that for 2,000 years has steered the barque of the Church.
“More than with technical resources, although necessary, we want to qualify ourselves dwelling in this universe too with a believing heart that contributes to giving a soul to the uninterrupted communicational flow of the Internet.”
“This is our mission – the Church’s mission that she cannot renounce.”
“The time in which we live is experiencing an enormous expansion of the frontiers of communication, realizing an untold convergence between different media and making interaction possible,” he said.
“Thus the Internet manifests an open vocation with an egalitarian and pluralistic tendency. At the same time it has dug a moat about itself, and thus people speak about the “digital divide.” The Holy Father warned: “It separates the included from the excluded and adds to the other discrepancies that separate nations from each other and divide them internally.
“The dangers of homogenization and control, of intellectual and moral relativism, already quite evident in the bent of the critical spirit, in truth reduced to the play of opinions, in the multiple forms of the degradation and humiliation of the human person in his intimate dimension.”
Benedict XVI urged the audience to overcome these “collective dynamics that can make us lose the perception of the depth of persons and remain at the surface,” seeing persons as “bodies without souls, objects of trade and consumption.” Quoting ‘Caritas in Veritate’ he said: “the media can become a factor in humanization not only when, thanks to technological development, it increases the possibilities of communicating information, but above all when it is geared towards a vision of the person and the common good that reflects truly universal values.”
“You are called to take on the role of animators of the community on the Internet too attentive to prepare the ways that lead to the Word of God, and to express a particular sensitivity to the disheartened and those who have a deep, unarticulated desire for enduring truth and the absolute.”
The Holy Father urged “all media professionals not to tire of nourishing in their hearts that passion for man that draws ever closer to the languages he speaks and to his true face. You will be helped in this by a solid theological formation and above all a deep and joyful passion for God, fed by a constant dialogue with the Lord.
He concluded: “Our confidence is not uncritically placed in any instrument of technology. Our strength lies in being Church, believing community, able to bear witness to all the perennial newness of the Risen One, with a life that blooms in fullness in the measure that it opens up, enters into relation, gives itself gratuitously.”