The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, explained this week that Pope Benedict XVI enthusiastically accepted the idea of having a channel on YouTube, because “it’s worth embracing the risks” this implies in order to proclaim Christ and his Gospel and bring him to the new generations.
In an interview with the L’Osservatore Romano about the Pope’s message for the 43rd World Communications Day, which will be published this Friday and will have as its theme, “New technologies, new relations: Promoting a culture of respect, dialogue, friendship,” the archbishop pointed out, “The Pope has always expressed sympathy for new technologies.”
“If on the one hand,” he continued, “he certainly sees limits and dangers, he also sees it as a positive way to be current. We will see this in the message of Benedict XVI: it is a strongly positive message, in which the Pope emphasizes his sympathies, his appreciation for the positive contributions the new technologies give to man’s journey today. The Pope speaks of a ‘true gift of God’ in his text. At the same time he affirms that the new technologies are a contribution to social progress.”
Commenting on the reasons that led Pope Benedict XVI to agree to having a YouTube channel, Archbishop Celli explained that the Holy Father “has made this decision because he wants to encounter people where they are at. He wants to encounter them and begin an open, frank, sincere and friendly dialogue.”
However, the archbishop pointed out that “the Pope is aware of the limits and the negative aspects linked to these new technologies,” but he believes that “if people can be found there, then it is necessary to go there and encounter them. Also because it’s about the new generations, that is, the men and women of tomorrow.”
He went on to comment about the “risks” that would come with Pope Benedict XVI appearing on YouTube, saying they “are part of our daily lives. But I think that accepting the challenge to have a presence there is worth it. I always remember that John Paul II, when he was asked why he made so many trips, said they were pilgrimages to the heart of a most diverse humanity. Well, I think this theory can be applied to the use of the internet to defend the gospel message.”
“And how can you make a pilgrimage to the souls of so many, at work, at school, at home? By using the internet. From now on they will see the Pope in his mission as the successor of Peter. Whoever watches will be offered the possibility to see, to hear, to understand. It is a pilgrimage in dialogue, reserved and respectful. It will not be to impose anything. Benedict XVI, with his gentle spirit, his cordiality, will offer his teaching to all those who want to hear him in the intimacy of their own rooms.”