News Reports Can Enhance “ecological ethics”: Vatican Official to Eastern Africa Bishops

Dr. Paolo Ruffini addressing delegates of the 20th AMECEA Plenary Assembly in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 12 July 2022. Credit: ACI Africa

The gathering, production, and dissemination of news reports has the ability to “help spread ecological ethics”, the Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication has said.

Addressing delegates of the 20th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) on Tuesday, July 12, Dr. Paolo Ruffini said that communication has the ability to build or destroy “a responsible awareness about” crises, including that of climate change.

“Communication can help spread ecological ethics and contribute to the flourishing of a global ecological citizenship through the production, collection, sharing of news, good practices, experiences, wisdom of peoples, among others,” Dr. Ruffini told AMECEA delegates who are gathering in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for their nine-day Plenary Assembly set to conclude on Sunday, July 17.

The Vatican official said that “Many problems of today’s world stem from the tendency, at times unconscious, to make the method and aims of science and technology and epistemological paradigm which shapes the lives of individuals and the working of society.”

“Technology products are not neutral for they create a framework which ends up conditioning up lifestyles and shaping social possibilities along the lines dictated by the interest of certain powerful groups,” Dr. Ruffini further told AMECEA delegates who have met to reflect on the care for the environment in the Eastern Africa region under the theme, “Environmental Impact on Integral Human Development”.


“Communication has the task of reminding us to highlight the intrinsic links between human destiny and the environment in order to generate accountable citizens and true stewards on the planet, and not only consumers,” he added. 

Making reference to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si, Dr. Ruffini said, “The role of communication in building or destroying a responsible awareness about the crisis of our space and time, nourishing the country’s is to promote a responsible awareness.”

He went on to highlight the role of the media in the common mission of protecting the environment, saying, “Media can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously... Efforts need to be made to help these media become sources of new cultural progress for humanity and not a threat to our deepest riches.”

The head of the Dicastery for Communication added, “Radio is a very powerful media, which for most of the countries in Africa still plays a very important role. In some of your countries, almost every diocese has a Catholic radio station, which also re-transmit our daily bulletins from the Vatican Radio.”

“Through the radio, through the web, through social media we can build a system with the mission of spreading the word of truth, based on the experience of Pentecost interwoven with the spirit of sharing – instead of that of Babel,” he said in his address to the Plenary Assembly that has brought together more than 100 Catholic Bishops from the nine AMECEA countries.

More in Africa

Dr. Ruffini further said that “communication is not a one-way process but reciprocal whereby listening to another another’s experiences and stories becomes part and parcel of authentic social communication.”

He urged delegates drawn from the nine AMECEA countries that include Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia to foster a collaborative ministry, saying, “Unity is strength, division is weakness”.

The most difficult task for any media, Dr. Ruffini said, is “to build a relational system capable of collecting, organizing, networking, communicating, sharing the good, and the beauty of the truth.”

“Every believer has to allow the message to travel from one person to another because it is beautiful, because it is true, beautiful because it is personally experienced, beautiful because it tells of the beauty of God,” he said.

The Vatican official added during his July 12 address, “Communication is not a superstructure, neither is it just a craft. Rather, it is the truth of a true relationship; where each one knows he can count on the other.”


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.