A lot of people might be surprised to hear about the Vatican taking a vested interested in technology, especially social media. In fact, this cultural crossover became headline news when it was announced the Vatican would be participating in SXSW 2017. Bishop Paul Tighe, the adjunct secretary to the Pontifical Council of Culture at the Vatican, shared that Pope Francis is enthusiastic about using social media to open conversations, build relationships and reach generations of people he wouldn't otherwise meet.
“The Vatican Church and all churches are in the business of communication,” said Bishop Tighe, in an interview with Tech.Co. “Therefore, as communications change, we have to change.”
Bishop Tighe explained that the days of simply getting their message out only from the pulpit is behind them. The Vatican is making an effort to engage the population and reach them with a message of hope and compassion any way they can, even on Instagram.
While many in the Vatican initially dismissed this kind of engagement as “childish” or “not serious,” Pope Francis has embraced it as a means of truly connecting with all people. In addition to being an incredibly visual and efficient speaker, Pope Francis is “a master of brief, short, colorful comments and metaphors,” and is the perfect person to help the Church leap into digital culture with both feet.
“I think what's happening with technology is more than simply a change of communications or a change of media,” said Bishop Tighe in the same interview. “It's calling for a new way of communicating which is more conversational and more engaging, which calls for us to do on a global level what we used to be good at on a partial level, where people are very good at talking to their neighbor and cultivating that sense of ordinary communication, because you actually know who you're talking to.”
Tishin Donkersley of Tech.Co had a chance to catch up with Bishop Tighe at SXSW, and talked about the Church's strides in digital culture and how social media has been a beneficial tool to spread their message of compassion in the world.
Austin has a city motto of “Keep Austin Weird.” In that spirit we asked Bishop Tighe about how he reflects on his time and in doing so stays true to himself.
Read more about the benefits of social media at Tech.Co.
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