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Is the digital revolution creating monsters? Summit of world leaders to meet in the Vatican


Aleteia - published on 10/21/16

An unprecedented conference for an unprecedented discussion between representatives of the Church and some of the greatest exponents of the world of advertising, communications and new technologies.

Is the digital world creating monsters? Is our privacy being annihilated? How will our relationships be changed? And what kind of world are we leaving to future generations? Questions like these are of concern not only to the Catholic Church but also to many proponents of the present day digital revolution.

For this reason, representatives from Internet giants like Google, several of the world’s leading advertising companies, and pioneers in new media are coming together in the Vatican to seek solutions to their common concerns.

Distinguished leaders taking part in the initiative include Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet (United States), who will participate via video message; Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP (Great Britain), the world’s foremost multinational company in advertising and communications, and Maurice Lévy, CEO of the Publicis (France), another leading global conglomerate in the industry.

Other major competitors will also be attending the Vatican summit, including Jerry Buhlmann, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network (Great Britain).

The event will be the first opportunity for a privileged dialogue with the Catholic Church about these issues on which the future of humanity in part depends. Vatican representatives participating in the summit include Monsignor Dario Viganò, Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications of the Holy See, and His Excellency, Bishop Enrico dal Covolo, Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University.

Leaders from the world of communications taking part in the conference include David M. Zaslav, President of Discovery Communications (United States); Kenneth W. Lowe, President of Scripps Networks Interactive (United States), and Naguib Sawiris, President of Orascom Telecom (Egypt).

A discussion of the ethical challenges posed by new technologies will be one of the central themes of the meeting. For this reason, noted speakers will also include Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein, President of the Foundation for Evangelization through the Media (FEM), and Carlo D’ Asaro Biondo, President of Strategic Relations Google — EMEA, while we await confirmation of the participation of Patrick Slim Domit, of the Grupo Carso (Mexico).

Monsignor Lucio Ruiz, Secretary of the Secretariat for Communications of the Holy See, will deliver the concluding address and present some of the first conclusions.

The initiative, under the patronage of the Secretariat for Communications of the Holy See recently established by Pope Francis; the Pontifical Lateran University, and Tela Digitale, will take place on November 4, 2016, at the Lateran, to discuss the topic: “The transmission of values in the digital age.”

The global Catholic network,, is an official parter in the initiative.

Participants will discuss, in particular, the impassioned appeal made by Pope Francis in the encyclical, Laudato Si’, where he reiterated: “As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning.”

For this reason, organizers have created the hashtag #anewbeginning, to raise awareness on social media about the concerns shared by the Pope and participants.

“Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life,” the Pope said regarding the values we should seek to promote in the digital age.

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