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Congregation for the Clergy
General Directory for Catechesis

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    • CHAPTER II Elements of methodology
        • Social communication
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Social communication


160. "The first areopagus of the modern age is the world of communication, which is unifying humanity... The means of social communication have become so important as to be for many the chief means of information and education, of guidance and inspiration in their behaviour as individuals, families and within society at large".(24) For this reason, in addition to the numerous traditional means in use, the media has become essential for evangelization and catechesis.(25) In fact, "the Church would feel herself guilty before God if she did not avail of those powerful instruments which human skill is constantly developing and perfecting... In them she finds in a new and more effective forum a platform or pulpit from which she can address the multitudes".(26)

In this respect, the following can be considered: television, radio, press, discs, tape recordings, video and audio cassettes, Compact Discs, as well as the entire range of audio-visual aids.(27)All of these media offer a particular service and everybody will have his own specific use for them. It is therefore necessary to appreciate their importance and to respect their demands.(28) In every well planned catechesis, such aids cannot be absent. Reciprocal assistance between the Churches, so as to defray the rather high costs of acquiring and running such aids, is a true service to the Gospel.

161. Good use of the media requires of catechists a serious commitment to knowledge, competence, training and up to date use of them. But, above all, because of the strong influence of the mass media and culture, it must be remembered that "it is not enough to use the media simply to spread the Christian message and the Church's authentic teaching. It is also necessary to integrate that message into the "new culture" created by modern communications... with new languages, new techniques and a new psychology".(29) Only by this, with the grace of God, can the Gospel message have the capacity to penetrate the consciousness of all and obtain a personal acceptance as well as a complete personal commitment.(30)

162. Those who work in the mass media, as well as those who make use of them should be able to receive the grace of the Gospel. This should cause catechists to consider particular groups of people: media professionals to whom the Gospel can be pointed out as a great horizon of truth, of responsibility and of inspiration; families—who are so much exposed to the influence of the media—for their defence, but more so in view of a growing critical and educational capacity; (31) the younger generations, who are the users and creative subjects of mass media communications. All are reminded that "the use of these instruments by professionals in communication and their reception by the public demand both a work of education in a critical sense, animated by a passion for the truth, and a work of defence of liberty, respect for the dignity of individuals, and the elevation of the authentic culture of peoples".(32)

23) Cf. DCG (1971) 122-123; EN 45; CT 46; FC 76; ChL 44; RM 37; Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Instruction Aetatis Novae (22 Feb. 1992): AAS 84 (1992) pp. 447-468; EA 71; 122-124.

24) RM 37.

25) Cf. Aetatis novae, l.c., n. 11.

26) Cf. EN 45.

27) Cf. CT 46.

28) Cf. DCG (1971), 122.

29) RM 37.

30) Cf. EN 45.

31) Cf. FC 76.

32) ChL 44.

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