ACU awards honorary doctorate to Church's social media expert

Published: Wednesday 13th May 2015

Pro-Chancellor Mr Ted Exell conferred the award on Archbishop Celli in recognition of his work in communicating the Catholic faith through modern media. In establishing digital and social media channels for the Vatican, Archbishop Celli has made a significant contribution to the Holy See’s mission for peace, dialogue and communication in the international arena.

Born in Rimini, Italy, Archbishop Celli was ordained to the priesthood on March 19, 1965. He graduated from the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in 1966. In 1990, he became Undersecretary of the Relations with States section of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

On December 16, 1995, Archbishop Celli was appointed Secretary of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and Titular Archbishop of Cluentum. He received his episcopal consecration on January 6, 1996 from Pope John Paul II.

Pope Benedict XVI named him as President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in 2007. During his years as President, Archbishop Celli has made it a priority for the council to encourage Church communicators to reflect on the nature of changes in the field of communication and develop appropriate forms of engagement.

He has harnessed the potential of new technologies to develop richer forms of dialogue and greater understanding among different communities, and identified opportunities for the Church to be present in new networks. Under his leadership the Pontifical Council has established digital networks for the Vatican, and was one of the originators of the Pope’s Twitter account, @Pontifex, which has more than 5.8 million followers.

Archbishop Celli considers the most significant change is not technological but cultural. He recommends a greater understanding of the evolving channels where people source information, education, forms of expression and the establishment of relationships and communities.

In 2015 Australian Catholic University is celebrating 25 years of people, learning, and achievements that continue to bring about real change for communities.