Vatican Aide: Media-Day Message a "Turning Point"

Archbishop Celli Notes Pros and Cons of New Technologies

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 23, 2009 ( Benedict XVI’s message to youth on the possibilities and dangers of the digital age constitutes something of an «authentic turning point,» says Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli.

The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications said this Friday upon presenting the Pope’s message for the 43rd World Communications Day, which will be observed May 24. The theme for the day is «»New Technologies, New Relationships. Promoting a culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship.»

To a room packed with more than 200 journalists and 24 television cameras, the president of the media dicastery noted that while «all messages that accompany the World Communications Day has its story, I don’t think I exaggerate too much when I say that we are seeing, on this occasion, an authentic turning point.»

«Perhaps never before has a message been so strong and so demanding,» he added.

The archbishop said the theme itself «not only puts us at the center of new technologies, but it also explores its effects, and it does so directed in particular to the digital generation, interacting in a particular way with the youth.»

«The message underlines the values promoted in this environment, beginning with friendship and the new network of relationships that now are possible thanks precisely to these new technologies,» said Archbishop Celli.

The Italian prelate added that the new technologies also make long-distance relationships possible, whether they be personal relationships with distant family members, or work relationships with colleges on other continents.

«We really are in a new world,» he said, «that is explored not so much by opening our eyes wide to see the new conquests, but by opening the heart to the hope of the great possibilities that can be seen for the common good.»

Archbishop Celli said this aspect «stands out even more if we think that the message also warns, with realism, of the dangers linked not only to the distorted use of the media, but to the imbalance of its possible use.»

He spoke of the «digital divide» that many say will lead to a greater wealth gap, given that «the new technologies are primary resources for the development and promotion of the human being.»

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