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Pope warns against “toxic” aspects of social media 

Faithful take a selfie with Pope Francis at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 05/14/24

“Never exclude anyone from the sources of knowledge,” Pope Francis told students and professors from two Vatican schools.

“Never exclude anyone from the sources of knowledge,” Pope Francis told around 200 professors and students from the Vatican School of Palaeography, Diplomatics, and Archival Studies and the Vatican School of Library Science on May 13, 2024. He warned the librarians and archivists to be on guard against the “decisive cultural and epochal challenges” the world faces. 

“Defend everyone from what is toxic, unhealthy, and violent that can lurk in the world of social media and technological knowledge,” the Pope told his audience. In an age “in which news is sometimes spread without verification and without research,” he expressed concern about “the risk of the dulling and devaluation of knowledge” or the “increasingly complex relationship with technology.” 

He particularly encouraged the archivists and librarians to “great openness to exchange and dialogue,” and to “avoid self-absorption,” while urging for the inclusion of all in acquiring knowledge.

He also called for these two Vatican schools to partake in a “genuine relaunch,” acknowledging the “profound reforms” they have already gone through in the recent years and advising them against simply celebrating “old glories.” 

“Comparison with the reality of things is of greater value than ideology. Ideologies always kill,” he said. “You are granted the privilege of educating yourselves directly from the centuries-old heritage that the Archive and the Library have the task and the responsibility of conserving and transmitting to present and future generations. And these contacts, besides being an opportunity for technical learning, are also a stimulus to mental and human openness.”

The meeting was held to mark the anniversary of these two schools, which train professionals to work within the Church.

The Vatican School of Palaeography, Diplomatics, and Archival Studies celebrates its 140th anniversary this year, while the Vatican School of Library Science celebrates its 90th. 

EducationPope FrancisSocial MediaVatican
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