Vatican hopes to spiritualise Internet

Chairman of Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, tells Belarusian media in Minsk that IT brings enhanced journalist responsibility

According to Mr. Celli, modern information technologies have changed our lives, expanding our educational and communication opportunities and affecting the unity of the human family. “Having access to such technology, we must be responsible, while remaining humane,” he stresses, noting that the Vatican cannot regulate the Internet but strives to enhance its spiritual values. The Archbishop believes that the Internet opens up huge possibilities but it is vital that this virtual space embraces more human values. “This is the challenge that confronts us,” he says.

The Chairman of the Pontifical Council asserts that new technologies pose a difficult choice for the church, as they do give people new opportunities, yet affect interpersonal communication. “I believe that, having such opportunities, we must treat them with great responsibility. We must remain humane, especially as we do more than share information. We give a piece of ourselves,” he notes.

The Archbishop is also concerned about the digital divide — a pressing problem for many countries. It divides people into those who use information technology and those who have never used even a phone. Nations should try to ensure everyone has access to modern technologies.

Participating in the Mass Media Ethics conference, speaking about press freedom and journalist responsibility, Mr. Celli identified key principles: the search for truth, freedom, justice and love. He believes that journalists should always seek out the truth, as we are created with this desire. He added that it is his first visit to Belarus. “I want to take this opportunity to convey greetings to all citizens of the country,” he said. During his stay in Minsk, he met the Belarusian Information Minister, Alexander Proleskovsky, and top Belarusian clergy. The Pontifical Council for Social Communications oversees the spread of Christian belief via the media, while monitoring the ethics of the Internet.

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