Vatican media archbishop heading to Sydney

One of the best-known Catholic communications figures in the English-speaking world - US Archbishop John Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications - will visit Sydney next month to launch the Australian Bishops' pastoral letter on the media.

Perth's Record newspaper reports that Archbishop Foley, who provided TV commentary at the funeral Mass for Pope John Paul II and has hosted many live televised Masses from the Vatican, will speak at a series of events on 16-17 February, to mark the launch of Go Tell Everyone, the pastoral letter on the Church and the media.

Archbishop Foley has been in the vanguard of the worldwide Church's efforts in recent decades to develop a better use of, and relationship, with the media. During the Australian bishops' last ad limina visit to Rome, he suggested to the visiting Australians that a local teaching document on the media would be a useful guide for the Church in Australia. Go Tell Everyone has flowed from that encounter.

A former editor of the Philadelphia Catholic Standard and Times newspaper, Archbishop Foley has argued in favour of Catholic schools undertaking media education courses "so that children and young people could be formed to be intelligent consumers of the media and not just passive couch potatoes."

The media must be taken seriously as a force in modern life, he said, as they are "almost as present to us as the air we breathe, and sometimes they are even more polluted."

Archbishop Foley is a strong supporter of the late Pope John Paul II's ideas on the media. The late Pope argued that today's media has become "the principal means of guidance and inspiration for many people in their personal, familial and social behaviour."

Speaking last year in Rome at a meeting organised by the Council of European Bishops' Conferences, Archbishop Foley highlighted the importance to the Church's mission of "new media" such as the internet. Comparing the challenge of new media with St Paul's visit to Athens in the Acts of the Apostles, the Archbishop called the internet "the areopagus of our time."

"The Church, as transmitter of the Revelation of God, has the task to communicate the Word and must encourage the use of Internet for the common good, the development of peace and justice, in respect of personal dignity and with a spirit of solidarity," he said.

'Voice of Vatican' heading to Sydney (The Record 12/1/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Pontifical Council for Social Communications

Church to ramp up use of media (CathNews 12/12/05)
Vatican official tells Catholic journalists to aim high (CathNews 15/10/04)

12 Jan 2006