RMG - Don Bosco's great vision: walk with the young, walk with the times

24 February 2023

(ANS - Rome) - As usual, on the 24th day of the month, one of the articles in the series "Don Bosco and Digital and Virtual Reality," written by the General Councilor for Social Communication, Fr. Gildasio Mendes, is offered to ANS readers. In today's contribution, the focus is on the theme: "Don Bosco's great vision: walking with the young, walking with the times."

Many decades have passed from the epoch of Don Bosco (1815-1888) to the present day: Don Bosco lived in a culture and a world in which people did not know the new technologies we use today, such as the Internet, communication systems, lasers, and satellites.

Even at the theological and pastoral level, Don Bosco lived in a very different period from our current one. However, his insights and practices already demonstrated his ability to educate starting from what the individual does best, from his potential, his intelligence, and his ability to integrate knowledge with professional practice. The values of life are emphasized through education, with the formation of people, in evangelization, and the promotion of the dignity of the person.

Through his vision and innovative approach, Don Bosco knew how to walk with the times planning the future.

Another important point to consider is that societies have also gone through various changes that, from Don Bosco's time to the present day, have influenced individuals, families, cultures, schools, and the Church.

We can therefore consider that there are several elements that express the great epochal change that has taken place. Among them, the most important ones to have had a major impact on people's lives, especially children, adolescents and young people, are information technologies, social media, and games.

The daily effort of thousands of scholars and researchers from various fields who are committed to studying and relying on laboratory tests in the fields of medicine, psychology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology is the testimony of a changing world from which we are constantly challenged to rethink the way we experience and see the reality surrounding us.

If on the one hand, the sciences have not yet answered satisfactorily to the great human, social, economic and ethical problems, on the other they have allowed us to navigate the universe like a compass that has provided us with a certain level of security.

Humanity is walking fast in the field of scientific, technological, and digital development.

The present and the future in the field of communication are to have a great awareness and responsibility to create and employ digital and artificial intelligence ethics; only in this way will it be possible to address communication technology in a socio-political, economic, and cultural context. 

In this ethical vision, in every country in the world it would be necessary to put the rights of the human person and related primary goods first: to eat, to have an education, to be digitally included...all in order to live a fair and dignified economic condition.

In light of Don Bosco's educational practice, the vision of communication presents us with the gift and responsibility of building the human family, of respect for cultural diversity, interreligious dialogue, and the promotion of peace.

In a world of rapid and unpredictable change, how do we, as Christians, stand before the values of the Gospel and Don Bosco's Preventive System?

Don Bosco was able, in an intelligent and creative fashion, to educate his young people in a socio-political and communicative context with new challenges and opportunities.  He educated because he knew that education offers the person the possibility to be the protagonist of his life, aware of reality and co-responsible in building a more just and fraternal society.

Today the digital context offers us many possibilities, such as dialoguing and coexisting with artificial intelligence and other future technologies that will be part of our lives and those of young people.    

Finally, it must be said that the digital world is by no means a neutral ground. Educating young people, adolescents, and children is focused on knowing how to be critical and protagonists, because digital will be the foundation of future education.

Let us thus walk with Don Bosco, always alongside the young and with the times!


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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