Illustration shows Google, Microsoft and Alphabet logos Illustration shows Google, Microsoft and Alphabet logos  (REUTERS)

Cardinal De Mendonça: Catholic universities must embrace AI with creativity

The Prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education, Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, speaks at a colloquium on the future of Catholic universities, and points to the key words "renewal and awareness" as guides for the implementation of technology in scientific research.

By Francesca Merlo

Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, Prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education, has highlighted the crucial role of Catholic universities in embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI) during a scientific colloquium.

The event, entitled "Renewal and Awareness: Thinking about the Future of Catholic Universities," was organized by the Strategic Alliance of Catholic Research Universities (SACRU) and took place at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan.

Cardinal de Mendonça emphasized the need for Catholic universities to lead in innovation and engage with emerging trends. He stressed the importance of dialogue, addressing contemporary challenges, and fostering continuous renewal based on awareness.

Referring to relevant Church documents, he underscored the fundamental role of these institutions in shaping the future.

Embracing technology with proper ethics

Drawing on Pope Francis' remarks on AI, Cardinal de Mendonça encouraged universities to fearlessly embrace AI and digital technologies while considering ethical implications.

Prioritizing individual well-being and upholding moral values were key principles he emphasized.

Regarding the anthropological implications of AI, Cardinal de Mendonça highlighted the importance of a holistic approach that centers on the human person. He advocated for investing in the formation of individuals, nurturing their cognitive, creative, spiritual, and ethical potential.

The Cardinal also highlighted the importance of universities engaging with society and fostering encounters among diverse cultures. Creative intelligence and discernment rooted in strong values were identified as essential qualities.


Cardinal de Mendonça stressed the responsibility of Catholic universities in implementing AI, referring to the concept of "algor-ethics" coined by Pope Francis. He called for social structures that ensure ethical considerations in the production and use of AI.

The colloquium also explored the challenges and opportunities of AI applications in various fields. Collaboration and inclusive opportunities were highlighted, particularly in enhancing training for individuals with disabilities.

Concerns were raised about the rapid pace of technological advancement, emphasizing the need for fairness, confidentiality, and data verification. However, participants agreed that AI has the potential to contribute to sustainable societies and introduce new professions.

The outcomes of the colloquium will be summarized in a public document that addresses the intersection of AI and the values upheld by Catholic universities.

As the International Federation of Catholic Universities approaches its centenary next year, this gathering provided valuable insights on effectively incorporating AI into university practices and contributing to a better future.

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13 July 2023, 13:26