In a message sent by Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy Father said that Catholics can use television to better "fulfill Christ's missionary mandate, and ... respond in a solicitous manner to the needs of our times."
Organized by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Archdiocese of Madrid, the congress opened this morning under the presidency of Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid.
The Pope's message, addressed to Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, was read today to the some 300 participants and 100 journalists at the congress, representing approximately 50 countries.
The congress is reflecting on Pope John Paul II's letter "The Rapid Development," and can be followed live on the Internet www.congresomundialtv.com.
The purpose of the Oct. 10-13 meeting is to encourage "encounter, dialogue and cooperation between the many Church organizations that produce or broadcast television programs in various parts of the world," said Cardinal Bertone in the papal message.
The note added that "the multiplicity of initiatives, in many cases evidence of the promptings of the Holy Spirit, today requires greater mutual collaboration in a true effort to enhance professional quality, so as to facilitate a more spirited dialogue between the Church and the world."
And, as "every organization brings its own particular contribution to the encounter of the Catholic voice and the world of the media," "a great unity" is necessary "between the Holy See and the local hierarchies in order to inspire and support the various television companies, and those that will develop in the future, helping them to remain faithful to their Catholic identity while preserving their diverse styles," the message continued.
It further stated: "The new forms of communication offer a highly favorable framework for more active participation of the public together with the media, promoting the inclusion of less fortunate sectors of the public and adapting themselves in a particular way to the experience of communion that is at the very heart of the Church."
To accomplish this, added the message, "it is necessary, without fear of technology, with intrepid hope and faith, to promote a joyful, creative and professional presence in television," being "coworkers of the truth so as to offer the good news of our Lord in the multiple formats of audiovisual media, while also witnessing to the beauty of creation."