Ruffini: Connection alone is not enough to communicate | Panda Anku

Speaking at this year’s SIGNIS World Congress in Seoul, Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Vatican’s Communications Department, recalled that “the only way to respond to the challenge of technology is not to idolize it”.

By Amedeo Lomonaco

There are certain things that technology can never replace, including “freedom, encounter, the surprise of the unexpected, conversion, the burst of ingenuity, gratuitous love.”

This was emphasized by Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery of Communications, speaking at the World Congress of the Catholic Network “SIGNIS”, an international association of Catholic communication professionals.

This year, the annual event was held under the motto “Peace in the digital world”. It takes place in the South Korean capital Seoul and ends on August 19th.

Hyperconnected, but also alone

The prefect of the Dicastery of Communications recalled that technology, the fruit of human ingenuity, today enables realities “that were unthinkable just a few decades ago”, such as teleconferencing, telemedicine, e-commerce.

But the paradox of our time, he pointed out, is that “we’re hyper-connected and we’re also alone.” “The problem is right here: when there is no more communication, only connection.” Then “we have to question ourselves, to carry out a personal and collective soul-searching”.

Answers, he suggested, were required for some questions.

“How is it possible to be hyper-connected and terribly alone at the same time? What is missing from our connection to bridge this loneliness and be strong enough to stand the test of time?”

“The only way to respond to the challenge of technology,” said Paolo Ruffini, “is not to idolize it. But don’t demonize them either. Not believing that she is tasked with redeeming humanity, but also not believing that his downfall depends on it.”

You can’t buy happiness

Paolo Ruffini also recalled when Pope Francis visited South Korea in 2014 and answered a girl during a meeting with young people at the Solmoe Shrine.

He had emphasized that “happiness cannot be bought”.

“Whenever you buy happiness,” the Pope had added, “you soon find that it’s gone… The happiness you buy doesn’t last. Only the happiness of love is that kind of permanent.”

“Consumerism,” continued Paolo Ruffini, “confuses short-term satisfaction with deeper and more lasting happiness.” “We know that we are not just consumers, let alone consumer goods. We know very well that only a relationship – a connection based on love – can make us less lonely, last and make us happy.”

“And love,” noted the prefect of the Dicastery of Communications, “is based on this supreme fragility, which is the need for love, to love and be loved, to give and to give oneself. Here lies the root of all communication. Here’s why connection alone isn’t enough.”

The Risks of Social Networking Communities

In his remarks, Paolo Ruffini then concentrated on social networks.

As Pope Francis wrote in his message for the 53rd Day of Social Communication, these networks are not automatically synonymous with community: “Too often their identity is based on opposition to the other, the person outside the group.”

“Too often,” he said, “we define ourselves by what divides us rather than what unites us.

“And what should be a window on the world becomes a showcase for the display of personal narcissism.”

A new humanism

The challenge for good journalism, which is also the challenge of SIGNIS, is to “find new ways for new communication”, to include genres and languages ​​by “focusing on dialogue instead of marketing ideas, on intelligence as morality class than on fanatical moralism of the crowd.”

He recalled when Pope Francis encouraged creativity a few weeks ago in Quebec.

“What is needed here is creativity, able to reach people where they live and find opportunities for listening, dialogue and encounter. We must return to the simplicity and enthusiasm of Acts.”

In an appeal to all Catholic communicators, Catholic journalists and all men and women of good will engaged “in the difficult and vast field of communication”, the Vatican Prefect said: “We can be protagonists of a new humanism that finds itself in active and participatory communities. We can weave a new idea of ​​citizenship.”

SIGNIS World Congress

This year’s SIGNIS World Congress is particularly geared towards face-to-face events and virtual conferences on the use of media, including social media.

“The use of digital media, particularly social media,” reads the message Pope Francis sent to SIGNIS ahead of this Congress, “has raised a number of serious ethical issues that require wise and astute judgment on the part of communicators and everyone involved with the authenticity and quality of human relationships.

“Sometimes and in some places, media sites have become sites of toxicity, hate speech and fake news. SIGNIS can play an important role in addressing this challenge through media education, networking Catholic media, and combating lies and misinformation.”

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