Church in India Aiming to Use Media Better

Bishops Say the Illiterate Shouldn't Be Overlooked Either

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THRISSUR, India, JAN. 19, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India launched a project to elaborate a pastoral plan for social communications that "should become an integral part of the mission of the Church" in the subcontinent.



The 156 members of the CBCI met at Marymatha Major Seminary here Jan. 7-14 to reflect on "The Church and Social Communications."

Through the use of the media, the Church should foster "a human family of peace and harmony," the bishops' final statement reads. "We request the CBCI Commission for Social Communications to draw up a Pastoral Plan which would include a vision and strategies to stimulate, promote, and harmonize Catholic activities in this field."

"As a first step, it is recommended that an evaluation of existing communication centers and their activities be made," the statement adds. "We need to rejuvenate our diocesan commissions and communications centers so that they become truly institutions which communicate and network with local Christian media professionals and other like-minded persons, providing them with pastoral assistance."

"Realizing that the regional media in particular have at times not been too favorable to the Church, we must give greater attention to the regional media, both print and electronic. We need to identify and train people for this work," the bishops say.

As a "large section of the society is illiterate and is not reached by modern media," care "should be taken not to neglect these sections, the least and the last, of society," the prelates add. "Alternate media, such as folk arts, dance, drama, music, keertan, katha, street plays, Christmas cribs, Passion scenes, etc., should be developed systematically, seriously and purposefully."

The bishops decided that the Sunday before the feast of Christ the King should be celebrated as India Communications Day.