Church and Communication

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Monsignor Paul Tighe discusses how the Vatican has embraced digital platforms like twitter and also developed the Pope app.

Monsignor Tighe serves as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.

He is a priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Published in Attualitá

(CatholicTv.com) Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, joins us to speak about communicating the Church's message in a new era of communications.

Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, joins us to speak about communicating the Church's message in a new era of communications. - See more at: http://www.catholictv.com/shows/inter-nos/social-communications-monsignor-paul-tighe#sthash.T6ghaWo1.dpuf
Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, joins us to speak about communicating the Church's message in a new era of communications. - See more at: http://www.catholictv.com/shows/inter-nos/social-communications-monsignor-paul-tighe#sthash.T6ghaWo1.dpuf
Published in Attualitá

Vatican City (CNS) -- As top-level Internet domain names are being rolled out and up for grabs, the Vatican has scored control of .catholic.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which coordinates the assignment of Internet domain names and addresses around the world, has been allowing entities to apply for ownership of hundreds, and soon thousands, of new domain names such as .london, .insurance and .xbox, among others.

The Pontifical Council for Social Communications completed the application process last year and recently received confirmation that it will control the new Internet address extension .catholic and decide who is allowed to use it.

The Vatican will run .catholic and its equivalents in other languages using Latin letters, as well as the equivalent of the word "Catholic" in the Cyrillic, Arabic and Chinese alphabets.

Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the social communications council, told Catholic News Service Oct. 15, "We are very happy the approval has been achieved, but there is still a lot of work to do before it goes live."

Contrary to reports that the domain name would go live in October, Msgr. Tighe said seeing sites with the .catholic extension online still has "a long way to go." There are still bureaucratic kinks to iron out, like contracts to sign, technical trials to run and clear guidelines to set up for potential users of the domain name.

As the monsignor told CNS last year, the Vatican plans to allow "institutions and communities that have canonical recognition" to use the extension, "so people online -- Catholics and non-Catholics -- will know a site is authentically Catholic."

The Vatican does not plan to allow individual bloggers or private Catholics to use ".catholic," Msgr. Tighe said. Use of the domain would be limited to those with a formal canonical recognition: dioceses, parishes and other territorial church jurisdictions; religious orders and other canonically recognized communities; and Catholic institutions such as universities, schools and hospitals.

Running the domain name will promote "a more cohesive and organized presence" of the church online, "so the recognized structure of the church can be mirrored in the digital space," he said.


(By Carol Glatz)

Published in Attualitá
Tuesday, 15 October 2013 14:40

Vatican gets greenlight for .catholic domain

Vatican City (CNS) .- As top-level domain names are being rolled out and up for grabs, the Vatican has scored control of .catholic.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),  which coordinates the assignment of Internet domain names and addresses around the world,  has been allowing entities to apply for ownership of hundreds, and soon thousands, of new domain names such as .london, .insurance and .xbox, among others.

The Pontifical Council for Social Communications completed the application process last summer and just received approval that it will now control the new Internet address extension .catholic and decide who is allowed to use it.

Screengrab of ICANN website listing new generic top-level domain names.

The Vatican will control .catholic and its equivalent in other languages using Latin letters, as well as the equivalent of the word “Catholic” in the Cyrillic, Arabic and Chinese alphabets. Its request for .catholic in Chinese is number one on the ICANN list of priority domain names, right above .Amazon in Japanese.

Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the council, told me this morning that “we are very happy the approval has been achieved, but there is still a lot of work to do before it goes live.”

Contrary to reports that the domain name will go live this month, Msgr. Tighe said seeing sites with the .catholic extension online still has “a long way to go.”  There are still bureaucratic kinks to iron out, like contracts to sign, technical trials to run and clear guidelines to set up for potential users of the domain name.

As the monsignor told us in last year, the Vatican plans to allow “institutions and communities that have canonical recognition” to use the extension, “so people online — Catholics and non-Catholics — will know a site is authentically Catholic.”

The Vatican does not plan to allow individual bloggers or private Catholics to use “.catholic,” Msgr. Tighe said. Use of the domain would be limited to those with a formal canonical recognition: dioceses, parishes and other territorial church jurisdictions; religious orders and other canonically recognized communities; and Catholic institutions such as universities, schools and hospitals.

Controlling the domain name will promote “a more cohesive and organized presence” of the church online, “so the recognized structure of the church can be mirrored in the digital space,” he said.

 

 

Published in Attualitá

Vatican City (Vatican Radio) On Sunday, May 12, the Church marks World Communications Day, encouraging Catholics in countries across the globe to make better use of the media and other forms of communication to share the good news of the Gospel with all men and women. This year, the papal message, drawn up and released in January by Benedict XVI, focuses on the importance of social networking sites as "portals of truth and faith", and "new spaces for evangelisation".

In the message, the former pontiff, who opened the first papal Twitter account at the end of last year, invites people to appreciate the potential of social media sites and urges believers, in this Year of Faith, to consider how their presence on these networks can help spread the Gospel message of God's love for all people. In January, following the publication of this 47th World Communications Day message, Philippa Hitchen spoke to Mgr Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Listen:  RealAudioMP3

"Over the last 4 to 5 years the Pope has been generating a lot of material that is reflecting on the new media as they emerge......it's a changing reality.....and I think the Pope is attentive to that, so this year he's moving into something that is relatively recent, the social networks, which have become a distinguishing feature of how communication happens....

Is this a follow-up to the opening of his Twitter account?I think this is offering a kind of philosophical or theological justification for why that wasn't just a one-off event, but it was a very important statement .....of the significance he attributes to new media.....

The Pope is asking two fundamental questions ....how can new media contribute to human progress and secondly, what can we Christians do in that arena to help and support the development of social networks in a positive manner...People often talk about 'user generated content' but I think the Pope is guiding us to a 'user generated culture'....we need to ask how can we help to promote understanding and solidarity....if these are to be social networks, there's no place for the anti-social, for harassment or bullying.....it's not enough to be the one who shouts the loudest.....respect in engaging with and treating the other person is fundamental.

Published in Attualitá

Vatican City (Vatican Radio) - In response to numerous queries as to whether the Holy Father's twitter account will be permanently shut down following his resignation, Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications issued the following statement:

The Twitter account @pontifex was created for the exclusive use of the Pope.

@pontifex will be inactive during the interim period between the renouncement of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of his successor (sede vacante).

@pontifex will be available for use by the next Pope as he may wish.

Published in Attualitá

Vatican City (CNS) -- Social media need to promote more logic, kindness and Christian witness than bluster, star-status and division, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Given that the online world exposes people to a wider range of opinions and beliefs, people need to accept the existence of these other cultures, "be enriched by it" and offer others what "they possess that is good, true and beautiful," the pope said.

Christians are called to bring truth and values to the whole world -- online and off -- remembering that it's ultimately the power of God's word that touches hearts, not sheer human effort, he said in his message for World Communications Day.

The theme of the 2013 celebration -- marked in most dioceses the Sunday before Pentecost, this year May 12 -- is "Social Networks: Portals of Truth and Faith; New Spaces for Evangelization." The papal message was released on the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists, Jan. 24.

Social media "need the commitment of all who are conscious of the value of dialogue, reasoned debate and logical argumentation," the pope said.

Social forums need to be used wisely and well, which means fostering balanced and respectful dialogue and debate, he said, and paying special attention to "privacy, responsibility and truthfulness."

Too often, popularity -- garnered either from fame or strategic powers of persuasion -- determines the "significance and effectiveness" of online communication, not "intrinsic importance or value," he said.

Catholics can "show their authenticity" by sharing their hope and joy, and its source in Jesus Christ. Catholics also should give witness by the way they live their lives and how their "choices, preferences and judgments" are fully consistent with the Gospel, he added.

Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, told reporters during a briefing that the pope is asking everyone to take responsibility for creating a more humane culture online by being respectful, honest and contributing to the growth and wellbeing of individuals and society through social networks.

Very often in new media "the more provocative I am, the more strident, the more extreme I am in my views, the more attention I get," he said. But, he said, the pope "is calling for the importance of the quiet voice of reason; we need moderation, reason and logic otherwise our debates are going nowhere."

Archbishop Claudio Celli, the council's president, said even Catholic sites and forums can be plagued by an aggressive and divisive atmosphere.

"The problem isn't so much displaying straightforward fidelity to particular dogmatic statements of the faith," he said; the problem is how to best show God's mercy and love, which is often more credibly and effectively done with actions and not just words.

"I knew my mother and father loved me not because they showered me with solemn declarations, but because they let me experience first-hand what it means to be loved," the archbishop said.

The same needs to happen in the realm of faith, because what humanity needs more than anything is to experience first-hand God's love and mercy, he said.

In his message, the pope said, "Dialogue and debate can also flourish and grow when we converse with and take seriously people whose ideas are different from our own."

Social networks are an important place for people of faith to reach out to others "by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence," the pope said.

If evangelizing is to bear fruit, he said, people need to remember that "it is always because of the power of the word of God itself to touch hearts, prior to any of our own efforts."

The level of debate can be toned down and sensationalism avoided when people begin to put more trust in the power of God's work "than any confidence we place in human means," he said.

"We need to trust in the fact that the basic human desire to love and to be loved, and to find meaning and truth -- a desire which God himself has placed in the heart of every man and woman -- keeps our contemporaries ever open to ... the 'kindly light' of faith," Pope Benedict said.

He also reminded people to use online networks to invite others into a faith community, religious celebrations and pilgrimages: "elements which are always important in the journey of faith."

By Carol Glatz

Published in Attualitá

The Pope’s Message for World Communications Day 2013 is, perhaps, best understood as the latest chapter in his on-going reflection on new media. Over the last five years, Pope Benedict has been attentive to the evolving reality of digital media and its significance for humanity and the Church. This year, his focus is on the social networks and his concern is to invite people to appreciate the potential of these networks to contribute to the promotion of human development and solidarity. He outlines some of the fundamental attitudes and commitments that will be required of those who are active in the social networks if they are to achieve this potential. Moreover, during this Year of Faith, he addresses believers who are engaged in the social networks and he asks them to consider how their presence can help to make known the Gospel message of God’s love for all people.

Pope Benedict has previously characterized the new communications technologies as ‘a gift for humanity’ (Message, 2009) and he has emphasized that they ‘are not only changing the way we communicate, but communication itself’ (Message, 2011). The technologies, however, will not automatically lead to a change for the better: ‘Just because social communications increase the possibilities of interconnection and the dissemination of ideas, it does not follow that they promote freedom or internationalize development and democracy for all. To achieve goals of this kind, they need to focus on promoting the dignity of persons and peoples, they need to be clearly inspired by charity and placed at the service of truth, of the good, and of natural and supernatural fraternity’ (Caritas in veritate, 73. 2009). He is clear that human effort and commitment is required so that the ‘exchange of information can become true communication, links ripen into friendships, and connections facilitate communion’ (Message, 2013).

Commentators frequently speak of user generated content with reference to the social networks. Pope Benedict reminds us that the very culture of the social networks is user generated. If the networks are to be spaces where good positive communications can help to promote individual and social well-being then the users, the people who make up the networks, need to be attentive to the type of content they are creating and sharing. Recent research is pointing to the increasing importance of the social networks in forming human identity (Foresight Future Identities, London, 2013); in this context it is ever more urgent that we are attentive to ensure that these environments are safe and humanly enriching. All users will avoid the sharing of words and images that are degrading of human beings, that promote hatred and intolerance, that debase the goodness and intimacy of human sexuality or that exploit the weak and vulnerable (Message, 2009).

It is self obvious that the networks can only be truly social if users avoid all forms of anti-social behaviour and expression. If networks are to realize their potential to be a forum to help people grow in understanding and appreciation of each other, then we should seek to be respectful in our modes of expression. If they are to help people to grow in knowledge and in truth, then we must commit ourselves to honesty and authenticity in our contributions. In an environment that allows people to be present anonymously, we must be attentive never to lose our sense of personal responsibility. Even though the social networks often seem to give greater attention to those who are most provocative or strident in their style of presentation, we should insist on the importance of reasoned debate, logical argumentation and gentle persuasion. Although the social networks may risk becoming ‘information cocoons’ or ‘echo chambers’ (Sunstein, 2012) where people only engage with those who share their views and opinions, the Pope reminds us that dialogue and debate can only flourish when we are willing to engage with and take seriously the ideas of those who are different from us. Social networks will be richest when they are inclusive.

The Pope takes for granted the importance of the digital environment as a reality in the lives of many people. It is not some sort of parallel or merely virtual world but an existential environment where people live and move. It is a ‘continent’ where the Church must be present and where believers, if they are to be authentic in their presence, will seek to share with others the deepest source of their joy and hope, Jesus Christ. The forum created by the social networks allows us to share the truth that the Lord has passed to His Church, to listen to others, to learn about their cares and concerns, to understand who they are and for what they are searching.

The Pope identifies some of the challenges that we must address if our presence is to be effective. We must become more fluent in the language of the social networks; a language that is born of the convergence of text, image and sound, a language that is characterized by brevity and that seeks to engage hearts and minds as well as the intellect. In this regard, the Pope reminds us to draw on our Christian heritage which is rich in signs, symbols and artistic expression. We need to remember a basic truth of communications: our witness – our actions and our patterns of behaviour – is often more eloquent than our words and proclamations in expressing who we are and what we believe.   In the digital arena, the Pope suggests that our willingness to engage patiently and respectfully with the questions and doubts of those we encounter in the networks can be a powerful expression of our care and concern for them. Notwithstanding the challenges, we should always be hopeful. We remember the power of the word of God itself to touch hearts, prior to any of our own efforts (Message, 2013).

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55, 10-11).

Mons. Paul Tighe

Secretay of the Ponifical Council for Social Communications

 

 

Published in Attualitá

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With Pope Benedict XVI's new presence on Twitter, people from all over the world can now post papal messages with just the push of an on-screen button.

While many have welcomed the pope's foray into the virtual world, his @Pontifex handles and "reply-able" posts have also meant that rude and crude comments have come with the mix.

Twitter is "an open communications platform," and the Vatican has readily embraced what the full-fledged exercise of freedom of speech entails, said Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which organized and runs the pope's eight language-based Twitter accounts.

"We knew there would be negative stuff," he told Catholic News Service Dec. 13, the day after the pope first tweeted more than 1 million "followers." The number of followers of the pope's multi-language accounts nearly doubled to more than 1.7 million just 24 hours later.

The Irish-born Msgr. Tighe said that in sifting through the feedback, "what stuck with me most was all the lovely stuff," the positive and genuine comments and queries in the midst of the ugly.

Just because there is a negative side to new media doesn't mean the church should shy away, he said.

Social media has allowed people to be "very honest and even more than honest at times" in a very public way, he said. "But you can't abandon it and leave it at that. We have to see its potential to do good" as a tool for evangelization and as a global forum for respectful dialogue and debate.

The wrong approach would be to "chase after all the negative, and then let it define who you are," he said.

Pope Benedict, instead, has called on Catholics to engage online with respect and with a genuine and earnest spirit, the monsignor said.

He said the pope has even called on priests to do the digital dive, saying, "Let's give a soul to the Internet, not just content."

Msgr. Tighe suggested priests, religious and other Catholics "jump right in and answer people's questions" that have been submitted using the @Pontifex and #Pontifex tags. Sometimes, veiled under the sarcasm or criticism, are signs of "a genuine searching," he said.

"Just seeing what's being said can help you think through how to engage with people more positively," and it can offer insight into what prejudices or misunderstandings need addressing, he said.

"The church is more than Rome and the pope," he said, so people should feel free to pitch in, lend a hand with the outreach and help "raise the level of discussion."

The pope's new Twitter accounts also are the pope's way of encouraging people to engage, he said, and take part in the new evangelization in new ways.

By Carol Glatz

Published in Attualitá
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