Irish-born Bishop Paul Tighe has addressed an international tech conference on behalf of the Vatican. Bishop Tighe, who is adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, was in Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) where he joined a panel to discuss the theme of ‘Compassionate Disruption’. The panel was one of the festival’s first steps to address the question of the place of faith in secular discussions. Bishop Tighe was joined on the panel by Catholic communicators Helen Osman, Michael Hertl and Christopher Krachten.
Bishop Tighe told the large crowd gathered inside the Hyatt Regency Hotel that the Vatican would not likely play a centralised role in defining a Catholic brand online. The Church’s real strength, he said, comes from the local level, “Starbucks is Starbucks wherever you go. McDonald’s is McDonald’s wherever you go. Churches are different in the different parts of the world you go and that’s the richness of liturgy, the music, the language and everything else.”
Bishop Tighe is originally from Navan, Co Meath, and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Dublin in 1983. After several postings and a period at the Mater Dei Institute of Education in Dublin, he became head of the theology department there in 2000. Bishop Tighe went on to take up a role as Director of the Communications Office of the Archdiocese of Dublin. He went on to establish its Office for Public Affairs. On 30 November 2007 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, deputy to its President, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli. On 9 July 2014 he was appointed secretary to the Committee for Vatican media, a special commission headed by Lord Patten of Barnes to recommend how to restructure the Vatican’s communications efforts. On 19 December 2015 Pope Francis appointed him as Adjunct Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture and Titular Bishop of Drivastum. He was consecrated as bishop on 27 February 2016 by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See.
Bishop Tighe delivered the keynote address ‘The Church in a Digital World – Sharing The Good News’, in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, at a conference to mark the 40th anniversary of the Catholic Communications Office in November 2015.
Pictured above (l to r) are: Bishop Paul Tighe, Broadcaster Audrey Carville, and Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh at the CCO 40th anniversary conference in Maynooth.