Make Room for Christ in the Media, Urges John Paul II

Insists on Effective Planning to Overcome Problem of "Silence"

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 1, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Insisting that the Church´s voice must not be silence by the media, John Paul II urged Christians to take the initiative in countering the problem.



The Holy Father made his appeal today when he met with the participants of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

"The special challenge before you is to find ways to ensure that the voice of the Church is not marginalized or silenced in the modern arena of the media," the Pope told the participants in English. He said their role is to ensure "that the Gospel is not confined to a strictly private world."

"No! Jesus Christ must be proclaimed to the world and, therefore, the Church must enter the great forum of the media with courage and confidence," he exclaimed.

John Paul II urged the elaboration of "a detailed pastoral plan, which will enable the proclamation of Christ to reach people, mold communities and have a deep and incisive influence in bringing Gospel values to bear in society and culture."

"It is not enough to wait for things to happen, or to act in a random way," he stressed. "Now is the time for concrete and effective planning."

In this connection, the Holy Father encouraged the overcoming of the temptation to conceive the media as simple instruments to communicate Christ and explained that the "media culture must itself be evangelized!"

"The Gospel lives always in conversation with culture, for the Eternal Word never ceases to be present to the Church and to humanity," the Holy Father added. "If the Church holds back from culture, the Gospel itself falls silent."

However, to make the Gospel message resound in the media requires "the highest standards of professionalism and the deepest resources of the Christian faith and Catholic tradition," John Paul II continued.

Toward that goal, the Vatican council published two documents on Thursday: "Ethics in Internet" and "The Church in Internet."

The Pontiff gave Christian communicators a clear instruction: "In the print media, in radio and television, in the world of cinema and the Internet, seek to open doors to him who so mercifully is the door of salvation for us."

"Then the mass media will be a world of genuine communication, a world not of illusion but of truth and joy," the Holy Father concluded.