“Media must not ape, add to AI alarm, confusion”: Catholic Bishop in Nigeria on 2024 World Communications Day

On the occasion of the 58th World Communications Day (WCD) marked on Sunday, May 12, the President of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS) has cautioned media practitioners on the continent against alarmism with regard to Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The message of Pope Francis for the WCD 2024 continues his reflection on AI. Released under the title, “Artificial Intelligence and the Wisdom of the Heart: Towards a Fully Human Communication”, the Holy Father reinforces his call for “ethical reflection” and “open dialogue on the meaning of these new technologies” that he expressed in his Message for the 57th World Day of Peace 2024.

In his reflection for WCD 2024 shared with ACI Africa, the President of CEPACS, Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyèse Badejo, shares insights from the Holy Father’s Message for WCD 2024.

“To be a helpful ally, the media must not ape or add to the AI alarm and confusion all around but borrow from the Christian approach of keeping the ultimate good of man at the center of everything,” Bishop Badejo says in his Sunday, May 12 reflection.

He adds, “This is important because, according to Pope Francis, this time of history is right in technology and poor in humanity and our reflections and decisions must begin with the human heart.”


“The inclination of the heart is the determinant for what we allow AI to become,” the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Oyo further says.

He reiterates Pope Francis’ call for ethical considerations regarding digital technologies, saying, “We also must follow models of ethical regulation in order to prevent unpleasant and unwholesome outcomes from the advancement of this technology namely exploitation, instrumentalization and commercialization of humanity and human relationship.”

“Thus, the Pope guides us to decide not to let AI obliterate AI (Adamic Intelligence) or enslave it,” Bishop Badejo cautions, and continues, “We should not succumb to become fodder or victims of algorithms but insist on retaining our freedom to grow in the wisdom of the heart which derives from almighty God.”

Established in 1967 by Pope Paul VI, WCD that provides an opportunity to reflect on the challenges and opportunities of modern means of communication is marked on the Sunday before Pentecost.

Recalling the Holy Father’s WCD 2024 Message, Bishop Badejo says, “Human beings have always realized that they are not self-sufficient and have sought to overcome their need for assistance and their vulnerability by employing every means available.”

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“From the earliest prehistoric artifacts, used as extensions of the arms, and then the media, used as an extension of the spoken word, we have now become capable of creating highly sophisticated machines that act as a support for thinking. Each of these instruments, however, can be abused by the primordial temptation to become like God without God (cf. Gen 3), that is, to want to grasp by our own effort what should instead be freely received as a gift from God, to be enjoyed in the company of others,” the President of CEPACS says.

AI, he observes, “has been around for much longer than we care to admit, in our cell phones, remote controls and computers. Only now it is more advanced and more impactful because it even assumes human features and behaviors.”

Today, the Nigerian Catholic Bishop who was appointed member of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication in December 2021 further says, “the explosive pervasiveness of AI in business, economy, education, social relationships and even religion seems to have swept many off their feet and left many totally enchanted.”

He goes on to reflect on the perceived power of AI, sharing that “some even suggest that AI has become as powerful as to be seen as a religion in itself, seeming to be omnipotent, demanding allegiance and ‘worship’ from people.”

“We can identify two big extremes of those who are totally dumbfounded and are infatuated by the new technology as a be-all and know-all and others who are so disgusted or frightened by the new developments as to demonize it and thus reject it altogether,” the 62-year-old Nigerian Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in October 2007 as Coadjutor Bishop of Oyo Diocese says.


Referring to Pope Francis’ WCD 2024 Message, he says, “We must keep the human being at the center of our reflections and activities, engage with the AI technology and manage it despite its power, in such a way that it does not result in a displacement or crushing of the human person and human relationships.”

“For Christians (and other believers I suppose), I think this should not be impossible. When you have been raised on Divine (supernatural) intelligence, by which I mean faith in Almighty God, especially through Jesus Christ, artificial intelligence should not overwhelm or confound you,” Bishop Badejo says in his reflection shared with ACI Africa on May 12.

He adds, “We must heed the Pope’s invitation to prevent humanity from losing its bearing.”

We do that, Bishop Badejo says, by seeking “the wisdom that was present before all things. Thus, we help equip our society for the present and the future, foster critical thinking, creativity and grow ethical decision-making skills.”

As the Pope emphasized, the President of CEPACS says referring to the title of the Holy Father’s WCD 2024 Message, “it will help us to put systems of artificial intelligence at the service of a fully human communication.”

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.