Vatican to Host Catholic Journalists

Seeking "Answers for Future" for Church in Digital Age

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Pontifical Council for Social Communications has organized an international conference for the Catholic press to focus on the Church's use of the Internet and new media.

Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of that dicastery, told Vatican Radio that “the big question at bottom is always this: in today’s social context, in today’s Church, what role will a Catholic radio station play, a Catholic television channel? The same question can be asked about the [Catholic] press.”

“And the topic of the congress regards not only the Catholic press,” he explained, “but the Catholic press in the digital age, because everyone already knows that there are many more who read a newspaper -- Catholic or not -- via the internet than who buy a copy of the newspaper.”

The conference is scheduled for Oct. 4-7.

Bishops' conferences have been asked to appoint three delegates from their countries, two experts from the press and one an expert in technologies.

“I can tell you,” Archbishop Celli affirmed, "that so far, the response has been very positive. As of today we have confirmation from 58 countries with the presence of about 180 representatives."

He suggested that such a response indicates the importance members of the Church are giving to the issue of media. 

The conference will include roundtables and presentations from representatives of the secular press, as well as discussions on particular questions, such as the relationship of the media and the search for truth, or the link between the Catholic press and controversies.

Archbishop Celli noted how Benedict XVI's most recent message for World Communications Day invited consideration of pastoral work in the world of digital culture.

The prelate affirmed his expectation that from this gathering there will emerge “answers for the future: what is the mission that the Catholic press must carry out in this present moment, in today’s global context.”