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- SIGNIS-Japan Awards Best Catholic Film and Elects New Officers
- Pontifical Council for Social Communications Visits Tele Lumiere in Beirut
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- Emmy-winning Filmmaker Receives Award from University of Dayton
- SIGNIS India Assembly “Creating Images for a Better Tomorrow”
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- SIGNIS Asia President Visits Nepal
- SIGNIS-Brazil Becomes the Largest SIGNIS Member in Latin America
- New Gabriel Award Category Focuses on Interfaith Media
- Catholic Journalists Called To Search for Truth
- SIGNIS India Video Journalists Cover Mother Teresa International Film Festival 2010
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- SIGNIS World President Visits the Solomon Islands
- SIGNIS Asia Assembly 2010 Announced
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Catholic Journalists Called To Search for Truth
Vatican City, October 7, 2010 (Zenit.org/SIGNIS) - About 230 Catholic journalists, communication experts, priests and bishops from 85 countries participated to the World Congress of the Catholic Press that was organized by the Vatican from October 4 to 7.
On opening the conference on October 4, the President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Celli, stressed that "the communications crisis and scandals that the Church has gone through in recent years emphasize even more the need to have means of communication with a Catholic vocation."
In this connection, he acknowledged that the mission of the Catholic press is more necessary than ever, "to give rigorous and correct religious information, above all when that offered by a good part of the secular press is not very objective today and at times creates confusion."
During the Congress homily, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Benedict XVI’s secretary of state, stated that Catholic journalists, like their peers, are "called to form and inform," but they have the further mission of contributing to the "proclamation of Christ and the opening of society to God."
The cardinal invited the journalists to show "the relationship between faith and reason in a respectful and clear relationship with the various positions present in public debate."
Papal message to Catholic journalists
Pope Benedict XVI also addressed the participants at the closing of the Congress. For the Holy Father, "the development of the new technologies and, in particular, widespread multimedia, seems to call into question the role of the more traditional and consolidated media."
"In fact, the new technologies, together with the progress they entail, can make the true and the false interchangeable; they can induce one to confuse the real with the virtual."
That is why he said that "the search for truth must be pursued by Catholic journalists with a passionate mind and heart, but also with the professionalism of competent staff who are equipped with adequate and effective means," because "it seems evident that the communicative challenge is, for the Church and for all those who share her mission, very involved. Christians cannot ignore the crisis of faith that has come to society."
Communication in crisis
Crisis communication was indeed one of the hottest topics of the Congress in the realm of the sexual abuse crisis in the Church. Director of the Vatican press office Father Lombardi proposed the case of the sexual abuse crisis as a profound challenge for the Church’s credibility and transparency.
"A great loss of confidence in the Church has occurred, in part justified, in part caused by a negative and partial presentation of the problems," he said. "But this damage, as the Pope says, can be balanced by a good, if the path of deep purification and renewal is continued, such that this wound can be overcome in a stable manner."
In order to make media controversy an opportunity to evangelize, the Church "needs credibility and transparency," said the Vatican spokesman, "loyalty to see and confront the moral problems of the institution."
John Thavis, of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Catholic News Service, spoke about how Catholic journalists have developed over the last 20 years in dealing with reports of clerical sex abuse.
"We feel frustration at times over how the mainstream media treats the Church; but this frustration is often translated into a kind of closed-circuit discussion among ourselves. There’s a risk of becoming too self-congratulatory," he cautioned.
In this regard, he asked the Catholic communicators gathered at the conference: "How well do we really communicate with the modern world, the wider world, beyond our own ecclesial borders?"
For more information: www.pccs.it/congressi10/stampa/congresss.htm