Do Not Be Afraid of Communications Media!

Wonderful words from Pope John Paul II can be found in his Apostolic Letter: The Rapid Development to those Responsible for Communications concerning the proper use of the media by the Catholic Church and the necessary mindset Catholic individuals must foster to bring the fervor and guidance of the Holy Spirit into the vast realm of communications media today.

Do not be afraid of new technologies! These rank “among the marvelous things” – inter mirifica – which God has placed at our disposal to discover, to use and to make known the truth, also the truth about our dignity and about our destiny as his children, heirs of his eternal Kingdom. (14)

In addition to distilling fears about such things as the Internet, television and radio, our former Pope reminds us that we cannot get away with giving or receiving information without taking into account its moral implications (something 'mainstream media' seems to forget):

While the content being communicated must obviously be adapted to the needs of different groups, the goal must always be to make people aware of the ethical and moral dimension of the information. (9)

But can we use the Pope's letter to excuse excessive or improper use of the Internet, TV, music or the like? Of course not! Communication must always be rooted in Christ, the word made flesh:

In the Word made flesh communication itself takes on its most profound saving meaning: thus, in the Holy Spirit, the human being is given the capacity to receive salvation, and to proclaim and give witness to it before the world. (4)

We cannot forget our obligation to be a people grounded in faith, with Jesus Christ as our center. In this spirit, we are able to enter into the vast and sometimes bitter world of communications media carrying the banner of the Lord, shining as a 'light in the darkness.' We all need reminding of the primacy of the communication with God (through prayer) before communication with others.

Surely you can let your work be prayer, but make sure true prayer is also present in your life. You never have 'too little time' to spend some of it with the Lord. You never have an excuse to forget that you are one of God's children—one of his created beings—and that you need him at your side.