Connect with us


“Technology not something neutral in the Pope’s eyes”



1558720612 cq5dam.thumbnail.cropped.1500.844


On the fourth anniversary of the Encyclical Laudato Si’, the Secretary of the Dicastery for Communications, Monsignor Lucio Adrián Ruiz talks about the Pope’s new approach to the ecological crisis and his relationship with tech innovations.

By Davide Dionisi

It’s already been four years since the publication of the Encyclical Laudato Si’ and it seems that all its deep value has not yet come out. What is its main contribution?

Laudato Si’ was a huge surprise for the Church and for the world. Never before had a Pontiff addressed the ecological crisis in such a holistic way and with such an original approach. In fact, this pontifical document broadens the gaze on the origin of the ecological crisis and focuses attention on its human causes rather than on the effects of the degradation of the various ecosystems. Hence, the Pope affirms that the detriment of nature comes above all from a political, economic and social disorder, rather than from biological and climate circumstances.

Much of his reflection returns firmly to the point of the supremacy of the technocratic model of global development as the main culprit in the current situation, which by the way also generates a deterioration in the quality of human life and a social degradation. To summarize, Pope Francis offers a more integral analysis of this problem which afflicts every inhabitant of the earth or of the “common home”, as he calls our planet.

Does the Pope conceive technology to be the main problem with this technocratic model?

Not at all. As a matter of fact, the Pope conceives technology as a very useful tool, as a great fruit of human creativity that we have received as a gift from God, and that we have the responsibility to develop. Nevertheless, we have to be aware that even if technological innovations have been conceived for good, they can be used for evil or for different purposes not based on its origin. So, technology does not appear as something neutral in the pontiff’s eyes, since the same thing that can help to promote development can also generate large-scale environmental, social, economic and political problems.

What Pope Francis warns us about is the role of technology as a tool widely used by the technocratic model, which mainly uses only a partial economic approach to measure, evaluate and intervene in reality. Therefore, the environmental, social, psychological and spiritual dimensions of human society take second place and are not considered when making political, economic and social decisions at local and global levels. At the end of the day that kind of reducing method harms humanity, particularly the most vulnerable persons. Daily we can confirm that some kind of applied technology diminishes the dignity of individuals and communities and it is far from contributing to true human promotion. The Pope is very strong in this point, and that is why he affirms that “a technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life cannot be considered progress” (LS 194).

Does technology have an impact on your mission as a Church or is just a mere instrument for your tasks?

Our vision of technology is of a missionary character, because through it we have an infinitely greater range than with other techniques of announcing the Gospel contained in the Pope’s messages. Hand in hand with technology, we are able to foster an attitude of “Departure”, to go to meet those who do not have the opportunity to receive the words of life that the evangelizing message implies. This is a clear fact that we welcome and use technology as a wonderful tool. In fact, all communication technology not only facilitates, but also makes it possible for that missionality appropriate to the Church to be lived much more efficiently, but above all, to be closer to each human being, in order to reach those who live in territorial and existential peripheries to which, otherwise, we would not be able to reach.

A few months after assuming the role of successor of Peter, the Pope promoted a reform of the Roman Curia in order to respond better to the its mission and to carry out a more efficient and transparent pastoral management and governance of the Church. This reform has meant an organizational restructuring of the Holy See of great proportions in which the criteria described by the encyclical Laudato Si’ have been a permanent reference. What we have done is to rethink our usage and application of technology in a way that is aligned with Laudato Si’, so that everything becomes more sustainable. This means at the same time, that we are fulfilling our main task that is to increase the missionary dimension of the Church, fostering once again our attitude of permanent “Departure” to go and encounter every person in need of God’s Mercy and Tenderness.

How were those criteria implemented in the Reform?

In so many ways! But, particularly, I would like to stress two of them: a better use of energy and the concern about workers. When we implemented the hyper convergent system with the Holy See’s Technological Direction to integrate the computerized management of Vatican communications, we did not only intend to provide a service of optimum quality. Together with this, we seek a balance between the optimization of financial resources, a considerable reduction of the environmental impact and the strengthening of our human capital.

If Pope Francis fosters an integral ecology that looks after workers, how did you manage to do that through the reform process?

The Pope strongly demanded that the reform should not involve a general dismissal of workers. For Pope Francis the theme of access to work, and to decent work, is a permanent concern, and does not escape his notice on the ecological crisis. In Laudato Si’, the Pope is categorical in warning that “technological progress increasingly replaces human work, for this would be detrimental to humanity” (LS 128).

The reform of Vatican communications meant the reorganization of the nine entities that became a single and new institution, more agile and efficient to manage institutional, journalistic, theological and pastoral communication. Our challenge was to further involve the more than 600 workers in this reorganization process, even though there would be functions that would be replaced by technology. So, following the Pope’s teaching and his personal convictions, our ethical and practical option to face this situation was to enable and provide workers with the appropriate skills for the new system. All this implied a re-engineering of the system, not only technological but also human, verifying personal capacities, promoting training and recreating a new organization and work flow.

Which kind of clean energy processes do you manage in Vatican City?

For instance, through the application of hyper convergent technologies, we were able to increase the density of services, while through virtualization we reduced the number of devices for network and storage. The implementation of a closed air conditioning loop allowed us to considerably reduce the cubic meters of air to be cooled. We also achieved a 37% saving in the use of lighting energy by replacing black with grey in the cabinets. At the end of the whole long process of reforming the technological infrastructure, we noticed a 30% energy saving compared to the previous system, which means around 2.200 MW/h of CO2 less each year. So far, since the beginning of the Reform we have been able to reduce 1.000 Tons of CO2.

Has the Holy See tried to give an international signal with this kind of good practice?

The Pope and all of us knew that this would become a point of reference at the ecclesial level for all the Catholic communities in the world who see in of the Holy See a concrete way of acting in their daily life and in their relationship with the world.

Sometimes the Pope has surprised the Church and the world by using the word “revolution” to express how Catholics should act in the midst of society. Is this perspective of ecology a kind of revolution?

In Laudato Si’, facing the reality of the decomposition of many social ties, the Holy Father warns that “All of this shows the urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution” (LS 114). The Pope is a very smart communicator, he knows perfectly well when and how to use his vocabulary. He likes to use the word revolution as something that comes to break those pernicious orders that have been established in society. For example, on several occasions he has referred to a revolution of tenderness, as a subversive act of Christianity to overcome hatred and selfishness.

This encyclical is particularly revolutionary in stating that in nature, everything is interconnected, that we are part of a single creation that is a truly integrated system. Thus, each one has a unique responsibility in the care of the environment, on what he calls the “common home”. No one can ignore the crisis that the planet is going through, because every inhabitant of the Earth is part of it and, therefore, must take care of it in order to survive and to preserve it for future generations.

Where can we see that this “cultural revolution” is operating at the Holy See?

The reform of Vatican communications implied a renewal in the way of managing information. An example on how this became a concrete step ahead was the welcome given to the new technologies, and using them to strengthen the human communion in diversity. This is part of a cultural revolution that shapes the reform.

Actually, the model applied in technology and in editorial lines allowed the creation of a multimedia, multilingual and multicultural platform where today content produced by more than 30 teams from countries of the five continents converge. Technology was put at the service of our evangelizing mission with a clear emphasis on human promotion.

If you check out the digital platform, Vatican News has a growing presence in social networks, with a clear task of providing quality information and offering elements to contribute to social debate. In the midst of an informative tsunami on social networks, where truth has taken a back seat and levels of verbal violence and disqualification are very high, the Pope told us in Laudato Si’ that these “efforts need to be made to help media become source of new cultural progress for humanity and not a threat to our deepest riches” (LS 47).

The Pope has frequently spoken about the damage that digital dependence generates among families and societies. How does he link this to the ecological crisis?

As we can see almost daily, Pope Francis is very concerned with the effects that digital pollution can have on social relations, whether interpersonal or intercommunal. The mediatization through screens and the loss of the presence of the interlocutor have favoured a depersonalization of intersubjective communication. He says that one of the great risks of this generalized mode of human communication is that it “enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim” (LS 47). He has insisted on the urgent need to detach oneself from devices so as not to dehumanize oneself.

But the responsibility for promoting an education for the usage of technology on a human scale lies primarily with education within the family. A person cannot get upset and complain because his or her children are always connected to an electronic device. Before that, that person must ask him or herself how much time he or she shares with his or her children, and if that is truly quality time.

Can you give some examples on how Pope Francis contributes to this revolution through the social media?

The level of followers of the Holy Father’s personal accounts are enormous, he is a phenomenon! His Instagram account has 6 million followers, and on Twitter he has 47 million followers, making him the second most followed world leader. But what I would like to highlight is that, unlike many, the Pope does not use his accounts to polemicize, assault or disqualify, but through them transmits what could be summed up as the Gospel of Tenderness.

With the concept of Tenderness he synthesizes the approach to a world wounded by hatred, war and the marginalization of the helpless and that, therefore, requires knowing a God who comes to meet him to heal its wounds. This is the permanent tenor of the Pope’s messages, which contributes to generating a culture of respect and true love, personal and civic, that regenerates the face of earth. From his point of view, this is directly related to the environmental crisis, and that is why Pope Francis calls for an integral ecological conversion that encourages contemporary development so that it is truly human progress and not merely technical evolution.

How has Pope Francis included technology as part of his Pontificate?

From the point of view of Technologies of Information and Communications, he has been really enthusiastic about taking advantage of social networks in order to reach more and more people with the Gospel. He is very active and involved in producing content of all the posts that originate from his different digital accounts, so we can say that he contributes to this tech and cultural revolution at the Holy See.

The Pope knows perfectly well that the actual culture is increasingly and deeply affected by technology. And despite, of course, not being a geek, he is very aware of the importance of using technology properly in the mission of the Church, both, for governing it and for being a Pastor to the People of God. That is why he is wide open to receiving all kinds of suggestions about the usage of technology and to support it in the implementation of new structures and projects at the Vatican, always wanting to be closer to people and to increase the missionary dimension of the Church.

I think Pope Francis made a very consistent synthesis of his personal thoughts about technologies the day he opened his Instagram channel. In his first post he stated: «I am beginning a new journey, on Instagram, to walk with you along the path of mercy and the tenderness of God».



Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes



Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

Continue Reading


Nuncio tasks clergy, laity on good stewardship



Nuncio tasks clergy, laity on good stewardship

The Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, has urged the clergy, religious and lay faithful to be trustworthy, transparent, selfless and generous stewards in the discharge of their duties in the Church, following the way of Jesus.

Archbishop Filipazzi made the call during the opening ceremony of the maiden General Assembly of the Abuja Archdiocese, which was held on at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Friday September 4.

The General Assembly, with the theme “Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja: Together in Evangelization,” saw Bishops, priests, religious men and women, and the laity gathered together to discuss means of strengthening the faith of God’s people amid the ongoing Covid-19 health crisis.

Addressing participants, Archbishop Filipazzi said that “an administrator is neither a master nor a slave who cannot decide anything, but one who is given a responsibility by the Master.” In this light, the faithful are called to be “true administrators of divine mystery” entrusted to them by Our Lord, according to their varying roles in the Church.

The Apostolic Nuncio also said “differences must not lead to division,” as everyone, though different, must strive for unity since there is no room for divisions in the body of Christ.

Archbishop Filipazzi, speaking on the upsurge in violence in northern Nigeria in a Vatican News interview on 29 August, had also called for shunning divisions along religious and ethnic lines.

Rather, he appealed for “general respect of the law and general intervention of the government” in the violent attacks which have claimed many lives and caused massive material damage.

Continue Reading


Assumpta CMO raises fund to roof “St Joseph’s Hall of Faith”



Assumpta CMO raises fund to roof “St. Joseph's Hall of Faith”

The Catholic Men Organization, CMO, Maria Assumpta Cathedral Parish Owerri, joined their counterparts in the Archdiocese to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, August 30.

The celebration earlier scheduled for May 10 this year was differed because of Covid-19 pandemic.

The occasion began with a Pontifical Mass presided over by His Grace, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Archbishop of Owerri cum Parish Priest of the Cathedral Parish.

In his homily, Archbishop Obinna called on Christians to live a life of witnessing to Christ at all times. He said that the zeal to preach the word of God is like a fire that burns inside the heart of a Christian and will not abate until one bears witness to Christ. This, he said, must be done in the course of our daily lives, in our places of work, in our families, among our friends, through living life that is Christ-like.

He congratulated the Christian fathers on the occasion and appealed for support to enable them complete their building project in no distant time. His Grace also appreciated the performance of the CMO choir during the Mass.

The theme for the parish celebration is: “Catholic Men As Spiritual Heads of the Domestic Church: Implications in the Family.”

The parish CMO used the celebration to raise fund for the roofing of their building project named: “St. Joseph’s Hall of Faith.”

In his brief remark at the occasion, the Parish CMO President, Arc. Anthony Emeka Ozoude said, “We have been able to complete the block work,” adding that, “the task before us now is to put a roof on the building.”

He therefore made a passionate appeal for generous donations from members and well wishers, assuring donors that every kobo donated will be prudently applied for the purpose.

Arc. Ozoude recalled that early this year, the parish CMO executive identified a three-prong programme of focus, namely: Membership revalidation, Debt recovery and Fund raising for the roofing.

He advised members not to sit on the fence anymore as there is so much to gain spiritually, morally and even intellectually from participating in the CMO activities both at the parish, stations and prayer groups levels.

“The committed members who attend our programmes regularly have discovered this and have remained resolute in their participation,” he said.

Activities marking this year’s celebration included Retreat, visit to ailing members in their homes, thanksgiving Mass blessing of the mini altars for the 5 prayer groups of CMO etc.

Arc. Ozoude thanked in a special way, Archbishop Obinna, the Cathedral Administrator and priests working in the Cathedral for their support. He also commended the various stations and prayer groups for their cooperation.

The CMO president acknowledged the good work and sacrifice of the Planning Committee, headed by Dr. Uche Ukozor and thanked them for a job well done.

Continue Reading