Image and Reality

To Participants of a Congress on Catholic Press, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, in an audience with Benedict XVI on October 7.

"Help your contempoaries to be oriented to Christ, only Savior, to keep burning the flame of hope in the world. Renew your personal choice for Christ, drinking from those spiritual resources that the worldly mentality underestimates, despite the fact they are valuable, more than that, indispensable.”

In his address, the Holy Father has revealed the profound transformations taking place in the world of mass media, especially with the development of new technologies and multimedia products, which “seems to call into question the role of the more traditional and consolidated media.” Today, in communications there is a growing emphasis on the world of images, and the Pope mentioned the risk that this implies: “image can also become independent of reality; it can give life to a virtual world, with several consequences, the first of which is the risk of indifference to truth...the recording of an event, joyful or sad, can be consumed as a spectacle and not as an occasion for reflection. The search for the paths of an authentic promotion of man then takes second place, because the event is presented primarily to arouse emotions. These aspects sound like an alarm bell: They invite consideration of the danger that the virtual draws away from reality and does not stimulate the search for the true, for the truth. In this context, the Catholic press is called, in a new way, to express to the heights its potential and to give a reason day in and day out for its mission that can never be given up.”

"The Christian faith has in common with communication a fundamental structure: the fact that the means and the message coincide; indeed, the Son of God, the Incarnate Word, is at the same time message of salvation and means through which salvation is realized...Moreover the Church, Mystical Body of Christ, present at the same time everywhere, nourishes the capacity of more fraternal and more human relations, being a place of communion among believers and, at the same time, a sign and instrument of everyone's vocation to communion. 

After recalling that the press evokes “the value of the written word,” and that “the Word of God has come to ua and has been given to us through a book, the Bible. The word continues to be the fundamental instrument and, in a certain sense, the constitutive instrument of communication.”

“The communicative challenge is, for the Church and for all those who share her mission, very involved. Christians cannot ignore the crisis of faith that has come to society, or simply trust that the patrimony of the values transmitted in the course of past centuries can continue inspiring and shaping the future of the human family.”

He then concluded, saying: “whoever works in the media, if he does not wish to be 'a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal' (1 Corinthians 13:1) -- as Saint Paul would say -- must have well-rooted in himself the underlying option that enables him to deal with the things of the world placing God always at the top of the scale of values.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 8/10/2010)

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