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Media Council Note Leads Up to World Communications Day

Prelate: Truth-Seeking Is Path to Communion

VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2008 ( Zenit.org ).- The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications is reiterating Benedict XVI’s call for an “info-ethics.”

Archbishop Claudio Celli made this invitation in a commentary distributed by the pontifical council on the Pope’s message for World Communications Day.

The world day will be celebrated this Sunday.

The Holy Father’s message notes that there are many people who now see a need for info-ethics, similar to bioethics in the field of medicine and scientific investigation.

According to Archbishop Celli, Benedict XVI’s words “put us on the alert even more because social communications are profoundly linked to man, and therefore, they invite us to zealously defend the human person in every respect and in everything that man is and is called to be.”

“They are certainly words that encourage us. If the media is a challenge, it is before all else a challenge for human intelligence,” he said. “And the Church is not afraid of intelligence or of reason.”

If fact, Archbishop Celli, contended, “it can be affirmed that one who helps man to know himself and seek the truth encounters Christ.”

Fundamentally positive

The archbishop said the passage from John’s Gospel, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” is “a guide and help for facing the challenge that society directs today to communications media, to its operators and its receptors: the search for truth — which is possible to find — it is the path for communion between persons and peoples.”

Together with the commentary, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications distributed a “Brief Questionnaire on Info-Ethics.”

The statement’s seven questions and answers — which organize excerpts from previous documents — give a look at how the Church views the communications media and the role the Church should have in this field. It also looks at the growing use of the Internet and why there is a need for info-ethics.

“The Church’s approach to the means of social communication is fundamentally positive, encouraging,” the questionnaire affirms. “She does not simply stand in judgment and condemn; rather, she considers these instruments to be not only products of human genius but also great gifts of God and true signs of the times.”

However, the questionnaire continues, citing the Second Vatican Council, “If the media are to be correctly employed, it is essential that all who use them know the principles of the moral order and apply them faithfully in this domain.”

“A community, aware of the influence of the media, should learn to use them for personal and community growth, with the evangelical clarity and inner freedom of those who have learned to know Christ,” the questionnaire affirms.

It adds: “Like education in general, media education requires formation in the exercise of freedom. This is a demanding task. So often freedom is presented as a relentless search for pleasure or new experiences. Yet this is a condemnation not a liberation!

“True freedom could never condemn the individual — especially a child — to an insatiable quest for novelty. In the light of truth, authentic freedom is experienced as a definitive response to God’s ‘yes’ to humanity, calling us to choose, not indiscriminately but deliberately, all that is good, true and beautiful.”

— — —

On the Net:

Benedict XVI’s message: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/communications/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20080124_42nd-world-communications-day_en.html

Brief Questionnaire on Info-Ethics: www.pccs.it/Documenti/HTML/Eng/GMCS/sussidi/42_gmcs_info_eng.pdf

Filed under: Papal Teachings, Social Doctrine, Social Justice

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