In new document, Pope evaluates impact of media in the family

.- In a message released on Saturday on the occasion of the 38th World Communications Day –to be celebrated on May 23, 2004--Pope John Paul II evaluated the impact of media, especially TV, on the family, and highlighted the critical role of parents.

The message entitled, “The Media and the Family: A Risk and a Richness,” acknowledges that “thanks to the unprecedented expansion of the communications market in recent decades, many families throughout the world, even those of quite modest means, now have access in their own homes to immense and varied media resources.”

“Yet,” the document continues, “these same media also have the capacity to do grave harm to families by presenting an inadequate or even deformed outlook on life, on the family, on religion and on morality.”

Regarding the way media portray the family, the document says that, sometimes, marriage and family life are depicted “in a sensitive manner, realistic but also sympathetic, that celebrates virtues like love, fidelity, forgiveness, and generous self-giving for others.”

Nevertheless, “on the other hand, the family and family life are all too often inadequately portrayed in the media. Infidelity, sexual activity outside of marriage, and the absence of a moral and spiritual vision of the marriage covenant are depicted uncritically, while positive support is at times given to divorce, contraception, abortion and homosexuality.”

The text recalls that public authorities “have a serious duty to uphold marriage and the family,” but insists that parents, “as the primary and most important educators of their children, are also the first to teach them about the media.”

“The media are welcomed daily as a familiar guest in many homes and families. On this World Communications Day I encourage professional communicators and families alike to acknowledge this unique privilege and the accountability which it entails,” the document concludes.

Read the full document:


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