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Paolo Ruffini with Pope Francis Paolo Ruffini with Pope Francis  (Vatican Media)

Ruffini: Pope invites us to let the network community free us

On the occasion of the release of the theme for the 2019 World Communications Day, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication comments on the Pope’s invitation to help young people reach freedom on social media through truth.

By Francesca Merlo

Pope Francis announced the theme of the next World Communications Day today: “We are all members of one another (Eph 4:25): from network community to human communities”. In an interview with Vatican News, Paolo Ruffini, the new Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication discusses what he thinks can help us shift from “network community” to “human communities”.

Up to what point can we speak of real communities when we are faced with the logic that characterises some of the communities of our social networks? On the 2019 World Communications Day, Pope Francis once again focuses his attention on his presence on social media through his Twitter and Instagram accounts (@pontefix and @franciscus respectively)

Communities, not tribes

Ruffini underlines that “the risk that comes with the times in which we live is that of building tribes rather than communities”. The tribal logic is founded on the exclusion of others, on division, rather than on community. He said the Franciscan sprit on which Pope Francis partly bases his pontificate is precisely what the prayer of Saint Francis preaches: “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon…”. Only in this way can the web of a network not be one that traps you, but one that becomes a tool of freedom – acquiring its truest and more beautiful meaning.

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Envy and resentment are destructive

Young people have always searched for moments and places in which they can be brought together. The ‘network community’ helps young people be particularly accessible, even if it is in a virtual dimension. Though “the web they seek is one of people and not one of threads” but, as Ruffini says “if the network community that we offer is formed on envy and resentment, then what are we doing? We are destroying both their future and ours.”

Therefore, even if it is lived in a virtual dimension through the tools of technological and digital communication, it is important to pass from network communities founded on phony relationships and fake friendships to “the beauty and also the hard work that comes with the truth of an encounter”, he said.

 Truth is freedom

“What are young people looking for? They are looking for freedom, but only the truth can set them free.” In the words of Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication.

29 September 2018, 12:00