The Pope: May Politicians Protect Human Dignity from Technological Threats

Francisco’s meeting with members of the International Network of Catholic Legislators: “Child pornography, data theft, falsehood of social networks: careful legislation is needed to guide the evolution and application of technology for the common good”.

Salvatore Cernuzio/Marianela Jaguraba – Vatican News

Pope Francis received, at the Vatican, this Friday (27/08), the participants of the meeting promoted by the International Network of Catholic Legislators, a network of Catholic parliamentarians from around the world born in Trumau, Austria, in 2010 , under the patronage of the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.

There is the Covid pandemic that “disturbs” and continues to cause death and contagion; there are political disturbances and polarizations that create distrust of political representatives, but above all there is a challenge that questions and makes even more delicate the role of parliamentarians, especially Catholic parliamentarians, which is the challenge of new technologies and threats to ” human dignity”. Child pornography, exploitation of personal data, fake news: against these wounds, legislation that is attentive and oriented to the common good is needed. This is a clear and definite mandate that Pope Francis has entrusted to members of the International Network of Catholic Legislators. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn was present at the Pope’s audience together with Professor Alting von Geusau ee Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church.

Against Covid there is still a lot to be done

Thanking the organization for the work carried out in these eleven years of accompaniment and support for the work of the Holy See in the respective countries and in the international community, the Pope addressed, in his speech, the reality of today, seriously marked by the Covid pandemic, which seems to gain momentum.

We have certainly made significant progress in creating and distributing effective vaccines, but there is still a lot of work to be done. More than 200 million cases and four million deaths have already been confirmed from this terrible plague, which has also caused so much economic and social ruin.

Good policy is indispensable for social peace

The role of parliamentarians is more important than ever. “Named to serve the common good, you are now called to collaborate, through your political action, to fully renew your communities and society as a whole,” said Francisco. The objective is not just to “beat the virus” and “return to the status quo before the pandemic”, but “to face the deep causes that the crisis revealed and amplified: poverty, social inequality, unemployment and lack of access to education”.

“Brothers and sisters, a crisis does not come out the same: we will come out better or worse. We do not come out of a crisis alone: ​​we will leave together or we will not be able to leave.”

It is not an easy job, especially in a “time of turmoil and political polarization”, in which “parliamentary and politicians in general do not always have great esteem”. Yet, the Pope noted, “what greater call is there than serving the common good and giving priority to the well-being of all over personal gain”?

“A good policy is indispensable for universal brotherhood and social peace.”

The challenge of new technologies

In this context, one of the greatest challenges of the present time is “the administration of technology for the common good”, the Pontiff stressed. Certainly, “the marvels of modern science and technology have increased our quality of life”, however, “abandoned to themselves and only to market forces, without proper guidance from legislative assemblies and other public authorities guided by a sense of responsibility social, these innovations can threaten the dignity of the human being”.

“It is not a question of stopping technological progress”, the Pope clarified, but “of protecting human dignity when it is threatened”. Political and regulatory instruments allow parliamentarians to do so.

The Pope listed some of these attacks against the person from the internet: “I am thinking of the scourge of child pornography, the exploitation of personal data, the attacks on important infrastructure such as hospitals, the falsehoods spread on social networks.”

“Attentive legislation can and should guide the evolution and application of technology for the common good.”

Responsible citizens and prepared leaders

The incentive is to “take on the task of a serious and profound moral reflection on the risks and opportunities inherent to scientific and technological progress, so that the legislation and international standards that regulate them can focus on promoting integral human development and of peace, and not of progress as an end in itself”.

The Pope invited members of the International Network of Catholic Legislators to “promote the spirit of solidarity, starting from the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged people.” “The commitment of citizens, in the various spheres of social, civil and political participation, is indispensable,” he said.

“To heal the world, sorely tested by the pandemic, and to build a more inclusive and sustainable future in which technology serves human needs and does not isolate us from one another, we need not only responsible citizens, but also prepared and lively leaders. by the principle of the common good”.