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Bringing faith to the ‘digital continent’

WHAT is the nature of the Church’s mission to the so-called “digital continent”?

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, as a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, is in Rome to join in discussions on this topic.

“The focus this time is on the Church and the digital revolution,” he said.

“The assembly will seek to understand better what is sometimes called ‘the digital continent’ and what mission to ‘the digital continent’ might look like.

“The meeting is being held in the Vatican offices of the council which are located on the Via della Conciliazione, leading from the Tiber to St Peter’s Square. 

“The meeting is gathering together not only the cardinals, archbishops and bishops who are the members of the council but also the consultants who are experts in the field from around the world.”

He said the two-and-a-half-day meeting was a plenary assembly held every couple of years.

Archbishop Coleridge hopes to have his first meeting with Pope Francis in Rome as “normally we would be received by the Holy Father”.

He said his trip to Rome came at “an interesting time as discussions are getting underway on how the Roman Curia might be adapted to meet the needs of today”.

“It will also be the eve of the arrival of the new Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, with whom I lived and worked in Rome and whose appointment I very much welcomed,” he said.

He said Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications discussed the concept of a “digital continent” while in Australia.

“The Church has always tried to take the teachings of Jesus Christ to new continents across the world as they’ve been discovered,” he said.

“We see the digital continent as an extension of world exploration and a new place to introduce the teachings of the Church.

“As early as 1990, Pope John Paul II said ‘it is necessary to integrate our message into the ‘new culture’ created by modern communications.’”

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