Pope tells media to promote truth, not trash
Pope John Paul II has released a 20-page apostolic letter that urges Catholics to scrutinise the media to ensure that it is working responsibly to promote truth, and to use all media, including the Internet, to spread the Gospel message.
Reuters reports that the Holy Father said the the media "has need of Christ's redemption".
"The great challenge of your time for believers and for all people of good will is that of maintaining truthful and free communication which will help consolidate integral progress in the world," he said in the letter addressed primarily to media workers.
"Everyone should know how to foster an attentive discernment and constant vigilance, developing a healthy critical capacity regarding the persuasive force of the communications media.
The letter, entitled "The Rapid Development", addresses how the media can influence and be influenced.
"The mass media can and must promote justice and solidarity according to an organic and correct vision of human development, by reporting events accurately and truthfully, analysing situations and problems completely, and providing a forum for different opinions," he writes.
The Pope, whose 26-year-old pontificate has received blanket media coverage more than any other, said people should resist the type of media that promoted provisional values and fleeting moments as opposed to lasting virtues.
"This poses a serious challenge for believers, especially for parents, families and all those responsible for the formation of children and young people," he wrote.
Presenting the letter at a news conference, Bishop Renato Boccardo of the Vatican's social communications department said much of the media was undergoing a "degenerative process" where Christian values about life and dignity were put in a corner.
"It is enough to remember how television has become too often a powerful instrument for personal aggressions, a place to denigrate others and a forum for conflicts that are often vulgar and tasteless," Bishop Boccardo said.
Promote truth, not trash, Pope tells media (Reuters/ABC 22/2/05)
Apostolic Letter the Rapid Development of the Holy Father John Paul II to Those Responsible for Communications
Pontifical Council for Social Communications
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22 Feb 2005