Friday, October 07, 2011

Father Antonio Spadaro, Editor of Civilta Cattolica, says that Steve Jobs understood the value of communication

In a Catholic News Service article published in this week's Catholic Free Press, Jesuit priest Father Antonio Spadaro, the new editor of the influential Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, is quoted as having said that, "Steve Jobs had something in common with Pius XI and that is that he understood that communication is the greatest value we have at our disposal today and we must make it bear fruit."  See here.


In an article entitled "Conservative Christians blast Apple decision to discontinue app," written by Dan Gilgoff for CNN, we read:

"A coalition of conservative Christian leaders [read orthodox, my note] blasted Apple on Wednesday for discontinuing an app the group had created because the technology giant said the app was offensive. The Christian leaders had created the app to promote a document that urges opposition to abortion and gay marriage and support for religious liberty, among other positions. An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the company had removed the app, which was called the Manhattan Declaration after the document it was meant to promote, from Apple's online iTunes and iPhone stores. 'It violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people,' said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris, who said the app was removed last week.

The Manhattan Declaration app allowed users to sign and share the the declaration and included a four-question quiz that featured questions like 'Do you support same-sex relationships?' and 'Do you support the right of choice regarding abortion?' The app computes a score for the quiz depending on how many 'correct' answers a user gave.

Kerris said that Apple had heard from 'large groups of people' about the app but declined to answer questions about who complained about the app and about which part or parts were deemed offensive, saying 'I'd rather not go into further detail.' Prominent gay bloggers had criticized the app, focusing on the quiz.

Chuck Colson, a former aide to President Richard Nixon turned evangelical leader, said Wednesday that he was disappointed in the decision and because Apple had declined to respond to his requests for an explanation. 'If you have a public communications company, you have a responsibility to see that certain views are not suppressed,' he said. 'This is a dangerous thing to do in a free society.'

Colson helped draft the Manhattan Declaration last year, which promoters say has garnered more than 478,000 signatures. A spokeswoman for the declaration said Wednesday that Apple had approved and posted its app in October and that it had received a 4 plus rating for 'no objectionable content.'

'...Numerous attempts to have a dialogue via phone have been ignored,' the spokeswoman, Michelle Farmer, said of the leaders' attempts to reach out to Apple. 'Now leaders with the Manhattan Declaration are asking its supporters to get involved and pressure Jobs and Apple to reinstate the Christian app.'

Colson and two other declaration drafters sent a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Monday asking that the app be reinstated. In an interview, Colson said that if the quiz was considered offensive, he would have it removed.

Asked whether Apple had any plans to reinstate the app, Kerris said Wednesday that she had 'no further comment.'"

Apple censored the views of orthodox Christians who oppose abortion and same-sex "marriage."  And wouldn't even dialogue with leaders of the Manhattan Declaration to explain why it had removed the app even after previously allowing it.  And Father Spadaro commends Steve Jobs for understanding the value of communication?

In his Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam Suam, Pope Paul VI told us that, "The Church must enter into dialogue with the world in which it lives. It has something to say, a message to give, a communication to make." (No. 65).  But Steve Jobs apparently rejected this truth.

The Holy Father goes on to say that, "Dialogue, therefore, is a recognized method of the apostolate. It is a way of making spiritual contact. It should however have the following characteristics:

1) Clarity before all else; the dialogue demands that what is said should be intelligible. We can think of it as a kind of thought transfusion. It is an invitation to the exercise and development of the highest spiritual and mental powers a man possesses. This fact alone would suffice to make such dialogue rank among the greatest manifestations of human activity and culture. In order to satisfy this first requirement, all of us who feel the spur of the apostolate should examine closely the kind of speech we use. Is it easy to understand? Can it be grasped by ordinary people? Is it current idiom?

2) Our dialogue must be accompanied by that meekness which Christ bade us learn from Himself: "Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart." It would indeed be a disgrace if our dialogue were marked by arrogance, the use of bared words or offensive bitterness. What gives it its authority is the fact that it affirms the truth, shares with others the gifts of charity, is itself an example of virtue, avoids peremptory language, makes no demands. It is peaceful, has no use for extreme methods, is patient under contradiction and inclines towards generosity.

3) Confidence is also necessary; confidence not only in the power of one's own words, but also in the good will of both parties to the dialogue. Hence dialogue promotes intimacy and friendship on both sides. It unites them in a mutual adherence to the Good, and thus excludes all self-seeking.

4) Finally, the prudence of a teacher who is most careful to make allowances for the psychological and moral circumstances of his hearer, particularly if he is a child, unprepared, suspicious or hostile. The person who speaks is always at pains to learn the sensitivities of his audience, and if reason demands it, he adapts himself and the manner of his presentation to the susceptibilities and the degree of intelligence of his hearers....In a dialogue conducted with this kind of foresight, truth is wedded to charity and understanding to love." (Nos. 81, 82).

The leaders of the Manhattan Declaration didn't violate these principles of authentic dialogue.  Steve Jobs and Apple did.

Shame on them.  And shame on Father Spadaro for praising a man whose commitment toward dialogue and communication was, at best, questionable.

Related reading here.


Michael Cole said...

This post shows that Steve Jobs wasn't really interested in fostering communication unless the message suited his own agenda. Sad.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

I have deleted comments from the individual posting as anonymous in this thread and the previous one because the comments were ad hominem attacks against my person as opposed to comments offering anything even remotely resembling substance.

I will continue to delete this person's comments until such time as he or she learns how to behave as an adult.

I have shown that Steve Jobs wasn't interested in fostering a marketplace of ideas where authentic dialogue may flourish. Instead, he and his company - Apple - chose to take sides in the culture war and to suppress the orthodox Christian viewpoint toward abortion, homosexuality and same-sex "marriage."

This is unfortunate. And speaks to his character.

Wendy said...

Anonymous was violating the principles of authentic dialogue as laid out by His Holiness Pope Paul VI in Ecclesiam Suam. His comments were grossly uncharitable and I am glad you deleted them. He wasn't posting here in good faith but merely to attack and ridicule the Christian viewpoint.

I've seen this sort of anonymous commenter on many blogs and websites. They post anonymously for a reason. And it is to disrupt and annoy. Rather than visiting other blogs or websites which share their ideology or beliefs, they prefer to visit Christian sites and to harass incessantly.

Sad. Very sad.

Percy said...

Pace Chuck Colson, it should be noted that Apple is not a public communications company by any stretch of the imagination. It's not a carrier of public discourse, like a broadcaster, a telephone or telegraph company, a ISP, a cable company, or a newspaper or journal, or anything. It's not a service provider. It's a maker of things (not cars, but still, things). It's browser, Safari, will permit you to find out all about the Manhattan Declaration to one's hearts content.

Btw, the same gate-keeping by Apple about the apps it sells is why you won't see apps with direct porn content. You can no more constitutionally say they must sell this app than you can say the corner grocer must sell you X brand of Y. The only limitation is anti-trust, but since the GOP ruthlessly demolished antitrust regulation in the 1980s (and the Dems have not bothered to invest any energy in resurrecting it), it's a very weak tool.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Percy, You miss the point of this post entirely. Steve Jobs was not interested in authentic communication and dialogue. You assert that Apple is "not a carrier of public discourse." You should know that while Apple removed the Manhattan Declaration app, it allows apps for Planned Parenthood and numerous other abortion groups. Additionally, a forthcoming app will allow people to report pastors and priests who speak for traditional marriage.

There is really no way around it, Apple has taken sides in the culture wars. It is not interested in a free exchange of ideas. Which is why it supports apps which promote abortion and same-sex "marriage" and not an app which opposes those evils.

Percy said...

I can't find a Planned Parenthood app at the App Store; what is it?

For abortion, they have some educational stuff, as well as CatholicVote, but fairly slim pickings overall.

What's the name of the new app to report ministers? Who's developing it?

Derek said...

Percy, nobody is buying into your cheap attempt to defend Apple and its anti-Christian, anti-life and anti-family agenda. So you're wasting your time here.

If you want more information on Apple's apps for Planned Parenthood and so-called "gay" groups, visit the link at the bottom of this Blog article. It will take you to the Suzy B website.

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