3 Principles to Overcome the Great Temptation of Advertising

According to President of Pontifical Council for Social Communications

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LOYOLA, Spain, JULY 15, 2004 (Zenit.org).- One of the most insidious temptations of advertising is that of trying to make people believe "having is more important than being," says a Vatican official.



To counter that problem, Archbishop John Foley, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, offered three key principles.

They are: "being is better than having"; "each person must be treated with respect"; and "work for the common good."

The archbishop highlighted these principles Wednesday in Loyola, Spain, after celebrating Mass for the members of the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools, whom he addressed on ethics in business and in advertising.

He spoke about the difficulties of people in business and advertising when it comes to making decisions that can adversely affect their families, as well as those who have invested money in a company, and those who work for it.

The archbishop also pointed out the positive potential of advertising, according to the Vatican Information Service.

Advertising can sustain "honest and ethically responsible competition which contributes to economic growth, to the possibility of choice, and to authentic human development," he said. It can also contribute "to wider knowledge, lower prices and, usually, to more jobs."

Advertising can also serve to promote "morally healthy activity, for example, safe driving, and it has even been used effectively for religious purposes," Archbishop Foley added.

The Vatican official noted that "a growing concern in democratic societies is the ethical aspect of political campaigning" which can either "inform about candidates and issues" or "obstruct the democratic process" when high advertising costs attract only wealthy candidates or cause candidates to compromise principles and integrity in their search for funding.