.- Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which is presided over by Archbishop John P. Foley. Addressing them in English, the Pope expressed his thanks "for your commitment to the apostolate of social communications, the importance of which cannot be underestimated in our increasingly technological world.
"The field of social communications is fast-changing," the Pope added. "While the print media struggles to maintain circulation, other forms of media such as radio, television and the internet are developing at an extraordinary rate. Against the backdrop of globalization, this ascendancy of the electronic media coincides with its increasing concentration in the hands of a few multinational conglomerates whose influence crosses all social and cultural boundaries."
The Holy Father expressed the view that "much of great benefit to civilization is contributed by the various components of the mass media," and in this context he mentioned "quality documentaries and news services, wholesome entertainment, and thought-provoking debates and interviews." Internet too "has opened up a world of knowledge and learning that previously for many could only be accessed with difficulty, if at all."
"On the other hand, it is also readily apparent that much of what is transmitted in various forms to the homes of millions of families around the world is destructive." For her part, the Church, "by directing the light of Christ's truth upon such shadows, engenders hope."
Pope Benedict concluded his talk by referring to his Message for World Communications Day, dedicated this year to the relationship between the media and young people. "The responsibility to introduce and educate children and young people into the ways of beauty, truth and goodness is," he said, "a grave one. It can be supported by media conglomerates only to the extent that they promote fundamental human dignity, the true value of marriage and family life, and the positive achievements and goals of humanity. I appeal again to the leaders of the media industry to advise producers to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity and promote respect for the needs of the family."