Pope Francis Says Vatican Communications Efforts Must Have a Digital Future

Speaking to members of his Secretariat for Communications, Pope Francis said that given a growing digital culture throughout the world, new media must become a primary platform for spreading the Gospel. The assembly took place May 3-5 at the Vatican and gathers members of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, which is headed by Monsignor Dario Edoardo Vigano.

“Studying new ways and means to communicate the Gospel of mercy to all people, in the heart of different cultures, through the media that the new digital cultural context makes available to our contemporaries” is something that is “very much in my heart,” Pope Francis said May 4. He discouraged “the temptation of attachment to a glorious past” and said that future plans should focus on “digital culture.”

The Pope devoted most of his talk to the reforms that have been undertaken in the Vatican’s communications programs, including the consolidation of different agencies into the new Secretariat. “Reform,” the Pontiff said, “is not whitewashing things a little; reform means giving another form to things, organizing them in a new way.”

In this case, the Holy Father continued, reform in media strategy entails responding to the demands of a new era in communications. He observed that “in the past every method of communication had its own channels,” and therefore the Vatican had separated offices devoted to print, radio, television, and public relations. But in the internet age, all these media are closely linked, and a new coordinated strategy is necessary.