In a letter written on September 29th and made public today, the prelate affirmed that, “the Church no longer questions whether to use the communications media, but rather, how to do so in order the better to accomplish and the more faithfully to fulfill Christ’s missionary mandate, and so to respond in a solicitous manner to the needs of our times.”
The multiplicity of initiatives already in effect, he continued, “in many cases evidence of the promptings of the Holy Spirit, today require greater mutual collaboration in a true effort to enhance professional quality, so as to facilitate a more spirited dialogue between the Church and the world.” For this, the cardinal emphasized, it is necessary, “that there be a great unity between the Holy See and the local hierarchies in order to inspire and support the various television companies, and those that will develop in the future, helping them to remain faithful to their Catholic identity while preserving their diverse styles, sensibilities and cultural characteristics.
“The pastoral work of the Church, which seeks before anything else direct engagement with individuals for their well-being, must be complemented and strengthened through a harmonious and widely diffused presence in the various means of social communication. These means offer and propose models of culture and ways of life, powerfully influencing the preferences and opinions of persons and groups as well as helping to shape decision making in diverse environments,” the Secretary of State continued.
“In this sense,” Bertone said, “the new forms of communication offer a highly favorable framework for more active participation of the public together with the media, promoting the inclusion of less fortunate sectors of the public and adapting themselves in a particular way to the experience of communion that is at the very heart of the Church.”
Ultimately, the said, “it is necessary, without fear of technology, with intrepid hope and faith, to promote a joyful, creative and professional presence in television. We must be co-workers of the truth so as to offer the Good News of Our Lord in the multiple formats of audiovisual media, while also witnessing to the beauty of creation.”
The international congress was organized by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, led by Archbishop John Foley. Archbishop Foley has served as the Pontifical Council’s head since 1984. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The congress began today in Madrid, Spain and concludes on Thursday.
Addressing participants in the International Congress for Catholic Television, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Holy See, sent a message of encouragement and hope on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI. The cardinal noted the power of television and the tremendous ways in which it can be used by the Church, as a means of fulfilling Her mission of evangelization.