Wolfgang REHNER

BlessU2 was first introduced in 2017 at the World Exhibition in Wittenberg to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, as the world’s first blessing robot.
In March 2019, the Artistic Director of Ars Electronica, Gerfried Stocker, caused a furore by announcing that people would rather rely for spiritual support on a robot than on a priest.
Digitalisation leaves no area of life untouched, from social media to robotics. And between those, ever more wide-ranging areas of our lives – from household affairs to healthcare – are going digital.
Digital Europe is the theme of the “Geist & Gegenwart” Whitsun Dialogue. No borders, no limits? Digitalisation is pushing back the boundaries of what is possible to an astonishing extent.
Even central aspects of church life such as blessings and pastoral work are no longer digital-free zones. I have to admit that, for me, much of it remains inexplicable, logically incomprehensible and emotionally somewhat alien. There is a certain parallel in the timing of this event: for most people of all generations, Whitsun, too, is and always has been logically incomprehensible but it never ceases to give rise to new questions.
The Whitsun Dialogue at Seggau Castle is a forum for discussing the questions raised by a digital Europe. I am delighted that our church is once again part of this intellectually stimulating event.