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"AI poses many concerns, it also opens our minds and “doors'' to God’s infinite abundance, opportunities, and possibilities for each of us to creatively live out the Catholic faith." (Photo by Igor Omilaev / Unsplash )

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How might we use AI for good, both in our professional lives and in our personal faith journey?

We have been living in an age of rapidly evolving innovation and technology. As all of God’s original intent for “all created things” were meant “for good,” technologies are tools and a means for us, stewards, to use responsibly, applying moral ethics. We are called to pray and invite the Holy Spirit to guide our moral compass as we use AI technologies with the prayerful intent of glorifying God and doing God’s will in our everyday work. 

As emergent technologies continue to evolve, we can continue to embrace technology ethically by putting on our “Catholic lens,” ensuring that we are aligning with Catholic teaching on areas such as respect for human dignity, promotion of the common good, stewardship of creation, ethical decision-making, care for the vulnerable, data privacy and security, accountability and governance, human-centered design. Although using AI poses many concerns, it also opens our minds and “doors'' to God’s infinite abundance, opportunities, and possibilities for each of us to creatively live out the Catholic faith. Leveraging technology can empower us to deepen our spiritual growth, our relationship with God, and our relationship with the community. Lastly, AI can catalyze evangelization efforts in the digital age. 

Here are seven practical ways how AI can be utilized in our personal and professional faith journeys:

  1. Digital Evangelization Platforms: AI-powered platforms, such as chatbots or virtual assistants, help answer common questions about Catholicism, help guide individuals through prayer, and daily scripture reflection. Examples include the Catholic Chatbot by CatholicBrain and the Ask Catholic Answers bot.
  2. Personalized Spiritual Guidance: AI-driven apps offer relevant prayer, devotions, meditation, reflection prompts, calming music, spiritual exercises, and scripture readings. Examples include YouVersion's Bible App, the Verbum Bible Study app, Hallow, and AI-driven e-learning platforms provide access to courses, lectures, seminars, and resources on Catholic theology, spirituality, morality, and Church history. Examples include FORMED and Catholic Online School.
  3. Data Analytics for Outreach & Content Creation: utilizing AI algorithms can help analyze data on social media engagement, website traffic, and user behavior as well as tailor articles, videos, podcasts, and social media posts that promote Catholic values, social awareness initiatives, and community events.
  4. Language Translation and Localization: AI-powered translation tools can translate Catholic texts, documents, and multimedia content into multiple languages. 
  5. Virtual Retreat Experiences: AI and immersive technologies enable the creation of virtual retreat experiences that simulate serene environments, offer guided meditations, provide spiritual talks, and facilitate reflection exercises. Examples include the Catholic Retreats Online platform.
  6. Crisis Response and Support: AI-driven systems can be used for crisis response and support, offering guidance, counseling, and resources to individuals facing personal crises or spiritual challenges. 
  7. Community Building and Networking: AI-enhanced social networking platforms for Catholic communities can organize local events and coordinate volunteer efforts. Examples include Awestruck and Hallow Community.
  8. Ethical Decision-Making Tools: AI tools assist Catholics in ethical reflection and decision-making by analyzing complex moral dilemmas, applying Catholic moral principles, and providing guidance on virtuous actions. Examples include the Catholic Ethical Decision-Making Assistant (CEDMA).

Prayerfully embracing AI opens up possibilities and opportunities for fostering spiritual growth, a deeper relationship with God, community engagement, and evangelization. We can leverage technology to creatively provide personalized, accessible, and engaging experiences that support spiritual growth and understanding. With God’s grace, we can make ethical choices and use our personal freedom to challenge ourselves to actively deepen our understanding of the faith, share the richness of Catholicism with others effectively, advance the common good, and build a more just and compassionate society.

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