“Rapid Development” Apostolic Letter From Pope John Paul II on the rapid development of technology in the media

21 Feb 2005


21 FEBRUARY 2005




Earlier today, Archbishop John Foley, President of the Pontifical Council
for Social Communications presented Pope John Paul’s Apostolic Letter
“Rapid Development” on the rapid development of technology in the media.
In his Apostolic Letter Pope John Paul says: “The rapid development of
technology in the area of the media is surely one of the signs of progress
in today’s society. In view of these innovations in continuous evolution,
the words found in the Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council,
Inter Mirifica, appear even more pertinent: “Man’s genius has with God’s
help produced marvelous technical inventions from creation, especially in
our times. The Church, our mother, is particularly interested in those which
directly touch man’s spirit and which have opened up new avenues of easy
communication of all kinds of news, of ideas and orientations.”
“More than forty years after the publication of that document, it appears
appropriate to reflect on the “challenges” which the communications media
constitute for the Church, which Paul VI said “would feel guilty before
the Lord if she did not utilize these powerful means.” In fact, the Church
is not only called upon to use the mass media to spread the Gospel but,
today more than ever, to integrate the message of salvation into the “new
culture” that these powerful means of communication create and amplify.
It tells us that the use of the techniques and the technologies of contemporary
communications is an integral part of its mission in the third millennium.”
“Moved by this awareness, the Christian community has taken significant
steps in the use of the means of communication for religious information,
for evangelization and catechesis, for the formation of pastoral workers
in this area, and for the education to a mature responsibility of the
users and the recipients of the various communications media.”

The Pope goes on to say:”Many challenges face the new evangelization
in a world rich with communicative potential like our own. Because of
this, I wanted to underline in the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio that
the first Areopagus of modern times is the world of communications, which
is capable of unifying humanity and transforming it into – as it is
commonly referred to – “a global village”. The communications media
have acquired such importance as to be the principal means of guidance
and inspiration for many people in their personal, familial, and social
behavior. We are dealing with a complex problem, because the culture
itself, prescinding from its content, arises from the very existence
of new ways to communicate with hitherto unknown techniques and vocabulary.

“Ours is an age of global communication in which countless moments of
human existence are either spent with, or at least confronted by, the
different processes of the mass media. I limit myself to mentioning
the formation of personality and conscience, the interpretation and
structuring of affective relationships, the coming together of the
educative and formative phases, the elaboration and diffusion of
cultural phenomena, and the development of social, political and
economic life.

“The mass media can and must promote justice and solidarity according
to an organic and correct vision of human development, by reporting
events accurately and truthfully, analyzing situations and problems
completely, and providing a forum for different opinions. An
authentically ethical approach to using the powerful communication
media must be situated within the context of a mature exercise of
freedom and responsibility, founded upon the supreme criteria of
truth and justice.”

Click here to read the full text of the Pope’s Apostolic Letter Rapid Development.

Further information:
Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)