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Pope urges Vatican communications to go digital

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Use new media to spread the Gospel, says Holy Father
by Hannah Brockhaus

VATICAN CITY (CNA)

Photo: Pope Francis listens as Msgr. Dario Vigano, director of the Vatican Secretariat for Communications, speaks during a meeting at the Vatican May 4. (L'Osservatore Romano / CNS)

Pope Francis told the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, which was holding its first plenary assembly last week, that given a growing digital culture throughout the world, new media must become a primary platform for spreading the Gospel.

“Studying new ways and means to communicate the Gospel of mercy to all people, in the heart of different cultures, through the media that the new digital cultural context makes available to our contemporaries” is something that is “very much in my heart,” Pope Francis said May 4.

The Secretariat for Communications was formed in June 2015 as part of the Pope’s ongoing reform of the Roman Curia. The assembly took place May 3-5 at the Vatican and was headed by Msgr. Dario Edoardo Vigano.

In his audience with the plenary participants, Francis said the word “reform” is something we shouldn’t be afraid of. To reform, he said, isn’t just “repainting” things, but is rather “giving another form to things, organizing them in a different way.”

“And it must be done with intelligence, meekness, but also ... allow me the word ... with a bit of ‘violence,’” he said, stressing it is “good violence to reform things.”

More than just merging the Vatican’s various communications entities, the secretariat has the task of building “a truly new institution” that has arisen from the need for a “so-called ‘digital convergence,’” he said.

Whereas in the past each form of expression had its own medium in either newspapers, books, photographs, television, radio and CDs, now all of these forms of communications are transmitted “with a single code that exploits the binary system.”

In this context, he pointed to the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, which will officially join the secretariat next year, saying it “will have to find a new and different way to reach a number of readers greater to what it can achieve in paper format.”

Pope Francis also turned to Vatican Radio, which broadcasts papal and Vatican news in several languages throughout the world, saying the entity will need to be revisited “according to new models and adapted to the modern technologies and needs of our contemporaries.”

He made a point to emphasize the attention Vatican Radio has given to broadcasting in countries will little access to technology, such as certain countries in Africa, noting that services to these places “have never been abandoned.”

“The work is great, the challenge is great, but it can be done. It must be done,” he said, stressing the need to for a willingness to work together as all of the changes and merges take place.

Last Updated on Monday, 08 May 2017 13:01  

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