Mangaluru: Workshop for young priests explores AI in church public relations

Report by Fr Anil Fernandes, CCC

Mangaluru, Nov 28: The diocese of Mangalore hosted a workshop on public relations for its young priests on November 28 at Shanthi Kiran, Bajjodi, aiming to equip them with essential PR and media skills in an ever-growing world influenced by AI.

This workshop, the third instalment in a series following sessions held in June and August 2023, emphasized responsible communication, professionalism, and ethical considerations regarding AI's role in the Church.

Amith Prabhu, a renowned reputation scientist, co-creator of PRAXIS, and founding dean of the School of Communication & Reputation for PG (SCoRe) in Mumbai, facilitated the workshop.

Covering various PR aspects in today's world, including a mock press conference providing hands-on experience in crisis communication with the media, the session also delved into 'AI's Role in the Catholic Church.' Amith emphasized the urgency for priests to comprehend the AI reality and responsibly utilize its potential. The topic of AI led to lively discussions among the participants regarding AI's integration within the church and its ethical concerns.

During his address, Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, the bishop of Mangalore, highlighted the crucial role of the clergy as public representatives. He emphasized the significance of responsible communication and professionalism. Advocating for clergy empowerment in media engagement, he urged the priests to avoid responses such as 'I do not know' or 'no comments.' Expressing his concerns, the bishop stated, "Artificial intelligence raises concerns for me. While technological advancements are exciting, the associated ethical considerations are often overlooked."

Amith said, "AI is indispensable today; it's both present and the future. Integrating AI within the church can aid in engagement and outreach. As we live amidst the AI revolution, adapting and developing better strategies is essential to fulfil our mission."

Around 35 young priests of the diocese actively participated in the workshop. Rev. Fr Santhosh Rodrigues, director of the Pastoral Centre coordinated the event.




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