John Paul II Appeals to Media for "Courage" to Support Family

In Message for World Communications Day

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 25, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II appealed to the media for "courage" to resist commercial pressures and "secular ideologies" that promote a faulty idea of the family.



The Pope made his appeal in his message for World Communications Day, which will be observed this year on May 23. The Vatican press office released the message Saturday.

Professional communicators should "know and respect the needs of the family, and this sometimes presupposes in them true courage, and always a high sense of responsibility," the Holy Father writes.

"It is not so easy to resist commercial pressures or the demands of conformity to secular ideologies, but that is what responsible communicators must do," says the text, written in English.

"The stakes are high, since every attack on the fundamental value of the family is an attack on the true good of humanity," the Pope states.

World Communications Day is the only such world day established by the Second Vatican Council. The theme this year is "The Media and the Family: A Risk and a Richness."

John Paul II acknowledges that the media at times are able to address the family "in a sensitive manner, realistic but also sympathetic, that celebrates virtues like love, fidelity, forgiveness, and generous self-giving for others."

"This is true also of media presentations which recognize the failures and disappointments inevitably experienced by married couples and families -- tensions, conflicts, setbacks, evil choices, and hurtful deeds -- yet at the same time make an effort to separate right from wrong, to distinguish true love from its counterfeits, and to show the irreplaceable importance of the family as the fundamental unit of society," the Pope writes.

However, the papal message laments, "the family and family life are all too often inadequately portrayed in the media. Infidelity, sexual activity outside of marriage, and the absence of a moral and spiritual vision of the marriage covenant are depicted uncritically, while positive support is at times given to divorce, contraception, abortion, and homosexuality. Such portrayals, by promoting causes inimical to marriage and the family, are detrimental to the common good of society."

John Paul II suggests that, "without resorting to censorship, it is imperative that public authorities set in place regulatory policies and procedures to ensure that the media do not act against the good of the family." Moreover, "family representatives should be part of this policy-making," he states.

The Pope adds: "The media should not appear to have an agenda hostile to the sound family values of traditional cultures or the goal of replacing those values, as part of a process of globalization, with the secularized values of consumer society."