Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, recently gave a conference on Media and Evangelization and how the Catholic Church is committed to using new media.

What I found particularly intriguing was how the Archbishop framed his remarks about communication. He referred to the work of the late Cardinal Avery Dulles on the theology of the Trinity in order to illustrate his thoughts on communication and how such a theology is foundational to how we connect with others, especially via the new media

The Trinity is, of course, one of the great mysteries of our Catholic faith. The One God is at the same time three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Many mystics and theologians of our faith have looked to the Trinity as a model of how to relate to and communicate with God and one another. The Archbishop quoted Dulles on what this relationship and communication “looks” like within the Trinity:

“The Trinity is communication in absolute, universal perfection, a totally free and complete sharing among equals. In generating the Son as word, the Father totally expresses himself … the Holy Spirit completes the intradivine process of communication” (The Craft of Theology: From Symbol to System).

Although this particular quote doesn’t make mention of it, love is key to Dulles’ understanding of the Trinity and of how the Triune God communicates among the three Persons as well as to all of creation. For example, Dulles writes:

“Within the Trinity the Spirit is the subsistent love breathed forth by the Father and the Son. He is the personal bond of union expressing and sealing their mutual love, and proceeding from them” (The Catholicity of the Church, 45).

Key messages about the nature of good communication can be found in both of Dulles’ quotes:

  • Good communication is “a totally free and complete sharing among equals”.
  • Good communication is the generation of not only words (information) but of a word about who we are; we express ourselves, give ourselves to others when we communicate with them.
  • Love proceeds from good communication.

What does this mean in this age of mass communication where we can relate to and communicate with others immediately and through huge variety of media? Do we treat others as equals when we are communicating with them, especially when we are hidden behind the veil of anonymity? Are we attentive to how are words are expressing how we are? Do all of our communications (yes, even that 140 character tweet on Twitter) express love? I’m not talking about sentimental love, but a love that Saint Paul so well articulates in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Let’s talk more about this. What key messages do you hear in the Archbishop’s conference or in Dulles’ theology of the Trinity? How can we make the blogosphere, especially the Catholic blogosphere, more of a place where good communication is the rule, not the exception?

Other thoughts, ideas, wonderings …