Focus on Dialogue, Not “on marketing of ideas”: Vatican Official to Catholic Journalists

Dr. Paolo Ruffini addressing delegates at the Sixth SIGNIS World Congress 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. Credit: SIGNIS

The Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Communications has challenged Catholic communicators around the globe to foster dialogue in their practice of journalism and not the “marketing of ideas”.

In his Tuesday, August 16 address to delegates of the Sixth SIGNIS World Congress 2022, Dr. Paolo Ruffini encouraged Catholic journalists to be “protagonists of a new humanism, embodied in active and participatory communities”.

Dr. Ruffini said, “The challenge of good journalism is to find new ways for a new kind of communication by focusing on dialogue rather than on marketing of ideas, on intelligence as a moral category rather than on fanatical moralism of the crowd.”

Prioritizing dialogue and “intelligence as a moral category”, he said, “calls for creativity, capable of reaching people where they are living, finding opportunities for listening, dialogue and encounter.”

“We need to return to the simplicity and enthusiasm of the Acts of the Apostles," the Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication said in his address at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea.


He appealed to all Catholic journalists and all men and women of goodwill who are “engaged in the difficult and great field of communication, to be protagonists of a new humanism, embodied in active and participatory communities.”

“We can weave a new idea of citizenship,” Dr. Ruffini said in his August 16 address to members of SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication.

He said, “It is up to us to promote the stable and permanent involvement of young people from all over the world in our communication, linking them according to their projects.”

“It is up to us to try to weave a multimedia universe to be proud of: for its freedom; for its openness; for its ability to create a boundless community of belonging and sharing; for its ability to generate action, and to consider communication as a system of relationships,” Dr. Ruffini said.

He added, “It is up to us to take away from the web that opaque tendency that apparently unites but instead divides. It is up to us to witness a different way of living and to design a new way of communicating: new yet ancient, based on gift rather than consumption; on gratuitousness rather than price; on sharing rather than exclusion.”

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He continued, “SIGNIS can help the whole Church to weave a network that is not satisfied with connection but translates the Gospel message into the world of multimedia without erasing the histories and cultures of each country.”

“By offering our network as a place of true encounters among people, we can bear witness to a different way of living our time; a way that is founded on the gift rather than on consumption; on giving for free rather than on price; on sharing rather than on hegemonic ambition; on union as a remedy to the ambition to divide ourselves from others and then impose ourselves on them by standardizing them,” Dr. Ruffini went on to say.  

Reflecting on the theme of the August 15-19 congress, “Peace in the Digital World,” the Vatican official said, “There are certain things technology can never replace, including freedom, encounter, the surprise of the unexpected, conversion, the outburst of ingenuity, gratuitous love.”

“Too often, we define ourselves starting with what divides us rather than what unites us, giving rise to suspicion and to the venting of every kind of prejudice,” the head of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication said. 

He added, “What ought to be a window on the world becomes a showcase for exhibiting personal narcissism.”


The paradox of today, he continued, is that “we are hyperconnected and also alone. The problem arises when there is no longer communication, but only connection.”

“We need to question ourselves, to make a personal and collective examination of conscience,” Dr. Ruffini said.

There is need to seek answers to questions such as, “How is it possible to be simultaneously hyperconnected and terribly alone? What is missing from our connection that can bridge this loneliness, and that is strong enough to endure over time?”

He noted that the only way to respond to the challenge of technology “is not to think of it as an idol, but also not to demonize it.”

Dr. Ruffini cautioned against the temptation to believe that technology “has the task of redeeming humanity or that it will be the source of its perdition.”

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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.