The Pope says in our digital world, we have to develop a “sound critical sense”
“In these days marked by new outbreaks of violence and aggression in our world,” digital media raise “many serious ethical issues,” says Pope Francis in a message sent on 18 July 2022.
Addressing the participants of the world conference to be organized in Seoul from August 15 to 18 by Signis, the world Catholic association for communication, on the theme “Peace in the digital world,” the Pontiff deplores that some digital spaces have become “places of toxicity, hate speech and fake news.”
The digital revolution is “a powerful means of fostering communion and dialogue,” the head of the Catholic Church nevertheless acknowledged, recalling the role that digital media played during the pandemic.
Indeed, during the months of lockdown due to the pandemic, we saw clearly how digital media could bring us together, not only by disseminating essential information, but also by bridging the loneliness of isolation and, in many cases, uniting whole families and ecclesial communities in prayer and worship.
For the Pope, the problem raised by the digital world is a question of education. To fight against “lies and misinformation,” he encourages a media education that involves the development of a “sound critical sense, learning to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, good from evil, and to appreciate the importance of working for justice, social concord, and respect for our common home.”
The Pontiff also pleads for greater digital inclusion of communities that do not yet have access to the digital space.
For Francis, if Catholics could work to ensure this access for all, they would help the “spread of a culture of peace grounded in the truth of the Gospel.”
The Pontiff praised the organization of the meeting in Korea, recalling the role played in that country by the laity. He cited in particular the testimony of the 72 lay martyrs who were companions of St. Andrew Kim.
As in his last message for the World Day of Social Communications, the Pope emphasized the synodal dimension of communication, as a means of listening to each other that promotes a Church that is ever more symphonic.