.- In an address to Catholic thinkers entrenched in the world of social communications, Pope Benedict XVI stressed the need to harness the power of media for the good of society, urging them to denounce that which is morally destructive and merely profit-driven.
The address was part of a meeting today in the Vatican with participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
The president of that Council is Archbishop John P. Foley.
The Holy Father began his address by praising assembly members for their commitment "to the important apostolate of social communications, both as a direct form of evangelization and as a contribution to the promotion of all that is good and true for every human society."
He referred back to his first Message for World Communications Day--released in January--in which, he discussed "the media as a network which facilitates communication, communion and cooperation."
That message,the Pontiff said, recalled how "the Vatican Council II decree 'Inter Mirifica,' had already recognized the enormous power of the media to inform the minds of individuals and to shape their thinking.”
“Forty years later”, he said, “we realize, more than ever, the pressing need to harness that power for the benefit of all humanity."
Quoting St .Paul, Benedict said that "we are no longer strangers and aliens but citizens with the saints and members of the household of God." He added that "This sublime portrayal of a life of communion engages all aspects of our lives as Christians and for you, in a particular way, points to the challenge to encourage the social communications and entertainment industries to be protagonists of truth and promoters of peace."
"Such acommitment”, he told the group, “demands principled courage and resolve, on the part of those who own and work within the hugely influential media industry, to ensure that promotion of the common good is never sacrificed to a self-serving quest for profit or an ideological agenda with little public accountability."
Promote what is good, denounce what is false
Pope Benedictalso referred to another theme of his message, which he said, was "the urgent need to uphold and support marriage and family life, the foundation of every culture and society."
In this light he urged assembly members to recognize the importance of presenting children with "edifying models of human life and love," that do not" ridicule the God-given dignity of the human person and undermine family interests."
As he concluded his address, Benedict calling on media leaders "to promote what is good and true, especially in regard to the meaning of human and social existence, and to denounce what is false, especially pernicious trends which erode the fabric of a civil society."