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Church in Asia urged to evangelize digital world with ‘love’

The Prefect of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communication challenged Asian church leaders to “communicate with the heart” in a rapidly changing technology-driven world.

In his address to bishops during a session at the Bishops’ Institute for Social Communication (BISCOM) on April 17, Dr. Pabol Ruffini said, “The digital (media) is like a culture which the Gospel of Christ should permeate.” 

“Everything is digital,” the prefect said, adding that the Church must evangelize the digital world with “love, communion, and social justice”. He also noted that the digital culture “is always changing”.

Dr. Ruffini delivered the address via an online conferencing app from Rome, while the event was led and organized by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences’ (FABC) Office of Social Communication (OSC).

He said Catholics are all “digital missionaries,” who are “called to be disciples in the environment where are — parish, school, and even social media”.

Dr. Ruffini also reminded the bishops that love is the basis of the happiness of a human being and not the algorithm that drives technology.

The Vatican official said evangelization is “not dependent on media” and the secret of communication is “not technique but love”.

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“We need lessons from Asia about communion which thrives on communication. Communication builds on communion, and communion flourishes because of communication,” he said.

He urged the bishops to reflect on the foundational elements of communication, rooted in the Latin words “mun,” meaning togetherness, and “munus,” meaning gift.

Echoing the essence of Christ’s way of communicating, he emphasized that our communication should be characterized by self-giving rather than the self-satisfaction commonly seen in business and marketing. 

BISCOM, the flagship program of the FABC-OSC, is dedicated to enhancing the ongoing formation of bishops and staff of bishops’ conferences in social communication.  

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