The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli is an excellent communicator.
In perhaps the most intensive time for social media ever, Archbishop Celli has overseen the PCCS, and been instrumental in Pope Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis entering Twittersphere and YouTube.
Archbishop Celli will be a keynote speaker at the Australian Catholic Communications Congress, an event held once every three years in Sydney, Australia.
Under the auspices of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Communications Congress will bring together people working across the Catholic Church in Australia at the Rydges Hotel in North Sydney from 4-6 May.
A moderate and considered voice, Archbishop Celli lives in Rome, working with a small team that includes Monsignor Paul Tighe, who was the keynote speaker at the 2012 Media Congress.
In various interviews, Archbishop Celli has emphasised the importance of evangelisation, and of Catholic media going beyond practising Catholics in delivering the message.
“Catholic media should not become instruments of a religious or cultural fundamentalism.”
“It’s absolutely necessary that the Church establish a presence in the digital world. We are always fishing in the aquarium.
“The majority of fish are outside the aquarium. The Church is a community of communities. Its use of social media should reflect that.”
“The high rate of retweeting of the Pope’s tweets means that the Church is reaching an ever-wider community. People no longer pay attention–if they ever did–simply because a church leader is speaking. We don’t want a network of wires, but a network of people. Unless we engage digital media, we will wind up talking to ourselves.”
“Our media is directed not just to Catholics, but to all people. They don’t exist only for–or are directed only to–people who already belong to the Church, rather they should also give careful attention to what exists in the soul of man, in his heart, where sometimes there can be distance from God, or many times, a deep nostalgia for God.”
Speaking on the theme “What is our voice” Archbishop Celli will encourage people working in Church to discern carefully what their voice is when publishing and writing.
Archbishop Celli is also a member of the newly created congregation for the evangelisation of peoples, and so, has a particular interest in how media can be used to this end.
Noting the way in which the Pope’s Twitter account attracted more than 400 followers in one day (2011), Archbishop Celli said Twitter is like “a small mustard seed that once scattered grows into bushes where birds can rest”.
Archbishop Celli encourages us to reflect carefully on our use of social media, and to give time for silence too.
In commenting on Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the 2012 world communications day, he invited people to think about silence as an integral part of communication.
“The word that is communicated must be nourished by silence to be more meaningful, to be more true.”
Registrations are open for the Australian Catholic Communications Congress at www.whatisourvoice.org.au.
This article is available for publication across the Catholic press