Pope met with Mark Zuckerberg to encourage a ‘culture of encounter.’

Far from making solemn appointments with bishops, cardinals and leaders from other religions, the people’s Pope, Pope Francis, seems to be more interested in hanging out with other kinds of leaders, youth icons, actors, businessmen and others. His main aim behind these unconventional meetings is simple. In today’s world of internet and media, it is these groups of people who can more easily catch the attention of the current and future generations and influence them towards the right ways of living. The Pope has clearly set a new idea of how the Church can reach out to the world.

The Pontiff hit the news for meeting Facebook co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan on Monday, August 29. Though the Pope is active on sites like Twitter, he is not yet on Facebook. Despite this, Zuckerberg revealed that he has a deep respect and admiration for the Pope. He is even reported to have told the Pope that he and his wife deeply admire his messages of mercy and tenderness and that the way in which he has revolutionized interfaith communication with his new ideas is truly commendable.

The meeting focused on discussions about how the internet can be used proactively to promote the well-being of people. Greg Burke, Press Office Director for the Vatican said that the talks between the Pontiff and the CEO were based on how social media communication can be used to reduce the effects of poverty and to encourage a “'culture of encounter.” The discussion also focused on how “the message of hope” could be communicated to those who are the most disadvantaged.

Zuckerberg and his wife were in Italy to attend the wedding of their friends. The couple decided to use their time in Italy to pay a visit to the Pontiff who they both have ardent admiration for. Zuckerberg's respect for the Pope was evident in his clothing: he was dressed formally in a full suit as opposed to his otherwise casual sense of dressing in a t-shirt and hoodie.

The couple presented the Pope with a flying drone, a machine that was developed under the initiatives of their charitable organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The drone, the “Aquila” (Italian for 'eagle') has been developed to “beam internet connectivity to places that don't have it.”

Previously, the Pope has met with other big names in the internet and technology world such as Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc., and Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram.

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