VATICAN - The Pope encourages those working in communications and pastoral guidance in the Church to “to take up the challenges that these new technologies pose to evangelization.”
“Modern culture arises, even before the contents, from the very fact that new ways of communication exist with new languages, new techniques, new psychological behavior. All this constitutes a challenge for the Church, called to proclaim the Gospel to men of the third millennium, keeping the content unaltered, but making it comprehensible thanks also to the instruments and means harmonious with the mentality and the cultures of today.” These were the words of the Holy Father Benedict XVI in addressing participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, who reflected on the new communications technologies and who were received in an audience on October 29 in the Vatican Apostolic Palace.
In his address, the Pope mentioned the two Pastoral Instructions “Communio et Progressio” of Pope Paul VI and “Aetatis Novae” of John Paul II, “which have fostered and promoted in the Church a widespread awareness on these topics. Moreover, the great social changes that have occurred in the last 20 years have exacted and continue to exact a careful analysis on the presence and action of the Church in this field.” Benedict XVI then recalled the Encyclical “Redemptoris missio” of John Paul II, where it says that “the work in these means does not only have the objective of multiplying the proclamation. It is a more profound event, because evangelization itself of the modern culture depends in large part on their influence.” And: “It is not enough, then, to use them to spread the Christian message and the Magisterium of the Church, but it would be good to integrate the message itself in this 'new culture' created by modern communication” (no. 37).
Taking up the “multimedia character” and the “interactive structure of the new forms of media,” which have gradually led to a “a sort of global system of communication, according to which, though each means keeps its own peculiar character, the present evolution of the world of communication obliges increasingly to speak of only one form of communication, which synthesizes different sources or connects them reciprocally,” Benedict XVI asked that they “analyze with more professionalism the different dimensions of this phenomenon, including above all the anthropological,” and encouraged “those who work in the Church in the realm of communication and have responsibilities of pastoral guidance to take up the challenges that these new technologies pose to evangelization.”
In the conclusive part of his address, the Holy Father recalled his Message for World Communications Day this year, in which he encouraged the leaders of communicative processes “to promote a culture of respect for the dignity and value of the person, a dialogue rooted in the sincere search for truth, friendship that is not an end in itself, but capable of developing the gifts of each one to put them at the service of the human community. In this way, the Church exercises what we could describe as a 'diakonia of culture' in the present 'digital continent,' traversing its paths to proclaim the Gospel, only Word that can save man.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 30/10/2009)