“The Rapid Development,” by Ioannes Paulus II, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20050124_il-rapido-sviluppo_en.html, 24 January 2005.
Dated to coincide with the Feast of the Patron Saint of Journalists, the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter on the Media clearly references the power of New Media (and connectivity to boot!)
The rapid development of technology in the area of the media is surely one of the signs of progress in todayâ€™s society. In view of these innovations in continuous evolution, the words found in the Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Inter Mirifica, promulgated by my venerable predecessor, the servant of God Paul VI, December 4, 1963, appear even more pertinent: â€œManâ€™s genius has with Godâ€™s help produced marvelous technical inventions from creation, especially in our times. The Church, our mother, is particularly interested in those which directly touch manâ€™s spirit and which have opened up new avenues of easy communication of all kinds of news, of ideas and orientations
Many challenges face the new evangelization in a world rich with communicative potential like our own. Because of this, I wanted to underline in the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio that the first Areopagus of modern times is the world of communications, which is capable of unifying humanity and transforming it into â€“ as it is commonly referred to â€“ â€œa global villageâ€. The communications media have acquired such importance as to be the principal means of guidance and inspiration for many people in their personal, familial, and social behavior. We are dealing with a complex problem, because the culture itself, prescinding from its content, arises from the very existence of new ways to communicate with hitherto unknown techniques and vocabulary.
The great challenge of our time for believers and for all people of good will is that of maintaining truthful and free communication which will help consolidate integral progress in the world. Everyone should know how to foster an attentive discernment and constant vigilance, developing a healthy critical capacity regarding the persuasive force of the communications media.
Also in this field, believers in Christ know that they can count upon the help of the Holy Spirit. Such help is all the more necessary when one considers how greatly the obstacles intrinsic to communication can be increased by ideologies, by the desire for profit or for power, and by rivalries and conflicts between individuals and groups, and also because of human weakness and social troubles. The modern technologies increase to a remarkable extent the speed, quantity and accessibility of communication, but they above all do not favor that delicate exchange which takes place between mind and mind, between heart and heart, and which should characterize any communication at the service of solidarity and love.
The apostle Paul has a clear message for those engaged in communications (politicians, professional communicators, spectators), â€œTherefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of anotherâ€¦ No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hearâ€ (Eph 4: 25, 29).
Until Christ’s bodily return, human causes will have human leaders. We are lucky that Christ’s Vicar is here to guide us spiritually and remind us of truths. He also reminds us how technologies can be used to promote justice and a more Christian world. The letter emphasizes that communication tools are real tools for the Faith. It is right and question to consider their use seriously.
Given that, which of the following does not promote justice but instead spews foul language ungracefully
- Bloggers discover a major news anchor used false documents to tar a sitting President
- Bloggers discover a major news executive claimed U.S. troops targeted journalists, but then refused to support his claims
- Bloggers discover a minor news reporter is homosexual
The Holy Father’s closing words:
To those working in communication, especially to believers involved in this important field of society, I extend the invitation which, from the beginning of my ministry as Pastor of the Universal Church, I have wished to express to the entire world â€œDo not be afraid!â€
Do not be afraid of new technologies! These rank â€œamong the marvelous thingsâ€ â€“ inter mirifica â€“ which God has placed at our disposal to discover, to use and to make known the truth, also the truth about our dignity and about our destiny as his children, heirs of his eternal Kingdom.
Do not be afraid of being opposed by the world! Jesus has assured us, â€œI have conquered the world!â€ (Jn 16:33)
Do not be afraid even of your own weakness and inadequacy! The Divine Master has said, â€œI am with you always, until the end of the worldâ€ (Mt 28:20). Communicate the message of Christâ€™s hope, grace and love, keeping always alive, in this passing world, the eternal perspective of heaven, a perspective which no communications medium can ever directly communicate, â€œWhat eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love himâ€ (1Cor 2:9).
To Mary, who gave us the Word of life, and who kept his unchanging words in her heart, do I entrust the journey of the Church in todayâ€™s world. May the Blessed Virgin help us to communicate by every means the beauty and joy of life in Christ our Savior.
To all I give my Apostolic Blessing!