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Navigating the digital highway


The pros and cons of digital media are examined in the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement for 2019–20.

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Making it Real: Genuine human encounter in our digital world affirms the positive possibilities for encounter and solidarity offered by new digital media, while warning of those elements of our digital world that may be harmful. These include information overload, social isolation, marginalisation of the vulnerable, consumerism and fake news.

In his foreword, Bishop Terence Brady, Delegate for Social Justice, said he often heard from people in parishes about their desire to keep in touch with “far flung family and friends that draws us to engage with social media”.

“Our parishes, schools and other Catholic organisations have been quick to embrace the positive possibilities for communication and connection, and Pope Francis himself encourages us to ‘boldly become citizens of the digital world’,” he said.

“Our digital world enables us to be more connected than ever before, but sadly it can also be a place of manipulation, exploitation and violence.

“This too calls us to active citizenship because, at their heart, these problems are not technological, but rather moral.

“We can choose how we behave online, and we can collectively shape the online world, building a more just and loving online neighbourhood.”

The statement says everyone – whether they are users, communities, industrial or political leaders – have a role to play in rejecting hatred, divisions and falsehoods.

“We have a duty to foster a neighbourhood that promotes those human attributes and social values that lend themselves to genuine human encounter – love, understanding, beauty, goodness, truth and trustworthiness, joy and hope.”

The statement can be ordered from the Office for Social Justice on 02 8306 3499 or by email:



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