In an audience with members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Francis reflects on humanity’s search for meaning and says relationships with others are at the heart of our existence.
By Devin Watkins
This Monday, Pope Francis held an audience with the participants in the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which focused on the theme: “The human being. Meanings and challenges.” According to the source.
In his speech, the Pope highlighted the importance of the Academy’s efforts to explore “what is distinctive about the human being.” He noted that it is impossible to reject technology outright as opposed to human flourishing. Reflecting on the prevalence of technology in all aspects of human life, he said that “What is needed is to situate scientific and technological knowledge within a broader horizon of meaning, and thus avoid the hegemony of a technocratic paradigm.”
Uniformity of thought versus diversity of opinion
Pope Francis offered examples such as efforts to reproduce aspects of the human person through technology, such as using binary code as a digital language capable of expressing all types of information. He also noted God’s response to human desire to create a single language in biblical story Genesis 11:1-9 was not mere punishment but rather “God confused human language with ‘a kind of blessing’ for counteracting uniformity.” This meant respecting differences and showing concern for each other.
Depth of relationships beyond language
The Pope invited scientists and researchers to always exercise their profession responsibly and know that their creative act is always subordinated to God’s creativity. He cautioned against artificial intelligence or “talking machines,” stating they can never be endowed with “spirit,” so technological advances must be made in such a way as to prevent “the disfigurement of the human.” The main task of anthropologists according to him is developing “a culture that recognizes and promotes humans in their specificity.”
Plant trees whose fruits others will reap
Pope Francis praised the Pontifical Academy for Life for seeking interdisciplinary dialogue where researchers exchange views on technological development. He highlighted similarities between this initiative and ongoing synodal processes within Church. The zenith, he said Christianity can offer a forward-looking aspect to technological-cultural dialogue by absorbing elements from various cultures reinterpreting them in light Christ and Gospel.
The zenith, Pope Francis’ reflection on humanity’s search for meaning underscores how relationships with others are at the heart our existence. The need for diversity over uniformity, depth in relationships beyond language, responsible use technology, and forward-looking dialogues are all vital aspects he touched upon during his audience with members Pontifical Academy for Life.