By Allan Buckingham
I realize Pope Francis is 77, and a Catholic Priest/Bishop/Cardinal, not necessarily things that make us think Techie (although there are many that are), but in the last couple of weeks I’ve been super impressed how Pope Francis has ended up in many of my social feeds. Some of this has been kinda silly stuff as you can see in this Tweet:
and I realize it’s not really him, but his staff posting, but still, it’s generally positive and totally shows an embracing of technology. This became even more evident a couple of weeks ago when I ran across this on Google+ :
There are lots of good quotes in the Popes 2014 message for World Communications Day and I’ll highlight some of my favourites in a minute, but first I need to mention that I love the overall tone of the message. It doesn’t just blindly praise technology or modern communications, nor does it blindly condemn it. It carefully examines how things have changed recently due to technological advances, highlights some of the deficiencies, and goes into ways we can still do better. Here’s a great example:
The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression. The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful, but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests. … We need, for example, to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm. This calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen. We need also to be patient if we want to understand those who are different from us.
I can get on board with this. Here’s another couple quotes I’m fond of:
Personal engagement is the basis of the trustworthiness of a communicator. Christian witness, thanks to the internet, can thereby reach the peripheries of human existence. Let us boldly become citizens of the digital world. The Church needs to be concerned for, and present in, the world of communication, in order to dialogue with people today and to help them encounter Christ.
The whole thing is worth a read, it shouldn’t take that long, and I think you’ll end up thinking more about communication, which I’d say is a good thing. You may also end up thinking a bit differently about the Pope, which may also be a good thing.
Image credit theguardian.com