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Archbishop wants a 'soul' for technology

A new humanism is needed to give technological progress a soul, says Archbishop John P. Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Archbishop Foley was deliverying a message last week at the closing of an international congress on the cinema and culture organised by the Pontifical Councils for Social Communications and for Culture.

"Technology must help man to overcome difficulties and his own limitations, but it must not transform a machine into man and, much less so, man into a machine," he said. "The symbiosis between men and machines must have limitations and be regulated by an objective hierarchy of values [because] human conquests are precarious, if they are not based on service to the dignity of the person."

Archbishop Foley's humanism has a positive view of progress and technology, so long as there is "the courage, awareness and discernment" and the ability to "choose and assume responsibilities, and not remain at the mercy of events."

"It is necessary," he said, "to be able to discern between the human and artificial, between reality and fiction, between sensitivity and automatism, without these spheres being confused, to give life to an environment in which learning is guided by truth and the person finds space and stimulation to know and continue to seek."