Monday, 29 January 2007

The evangelisation of the Media.

Now here's an interesting project. Surely, the Church is called not simply to suffer the impact of the media nor plot a course round it, but to transform it. What about the evangelisation of the whole empire of the mass media? After all, the Roman Empire was evangelised, although it took nearly 300 years and the blood of un-numbered martyrs to do it. The new evangelisation of the media will take place through grace.

The Holy Father has been very outgoing with the journalists he has encountered, thanking them for their work and helping them to focus on the moral basis of their work. Recently he spoke with a group of journalist reminding them to engage in a "sincere search for the truth and the safeguarding of the centrality and the dignity of the person."

On the other hand, as Cardinal Ratzinger he wrote in his book "Christian Brotherhood" that the Church "must not try to catch men with the word unawares, as it were, without their knowing it. She has no right to draw the word out of a hat like a conjuror. And she must recognise that there are places where the word would be wasted, thrown away, if it were spoken."

We must act according to the evangelical counsel: " ... shrewd as serpents, simple as doves." We have quite a lot of work to do in understanding an authentic secularity - the affairs of human beings seen from the perspective of objective truth, and in expressing that truth in both a secular and a Christian framework. Parents and young people are certainly at the forefront of this work. And we need journalists who will work with and for parents and young people, both supporting and challenging them to reach out for truth. This will require not just a change of attitude, but conversion of life on the part of journalists, presenters and media users. Will it be the media user or the media maker who will take the lead, or will they work together?

The media age has taken us all by storm. We have been unprepared for its invasion and we have allowed fallen human nature to guide its progress. As a consequence, "mass media society" is in a cul-de-sac and needs light to show the way out. I call on parents, young people and media professionals who are living in Christ to act together and become builders of a new media culture, one which is formative. One in which the truth about the human person, the truth about the family and the truth about human society are recognised and sought after. What a great media that would be!

1 comment:

Mark said...

Didn't Pope John Paul II write something about the use of new communications technologies? A good person to ask would be Fr Roderick Vonhögen (; I know he did some media studies whilst in Rome.