1 October 2008
Bishop Duffy welcomes Pope Benedict’s theme for World Communications Day 2009:
“New Technologies, New Relationships. Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship”
Bishop Joseph Duffy, Chair of the Communications Commission of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, welcomed today the announcement that Pope Benedict XVI has dedicated the 2009 theme for World Day of Social Communications to: “New Technologies, New Relationships. Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship.”
Bishop Duffy said: “The Holy Father’s dedication of next year’s World Communications Day to: “New Technologies, New Relationships. Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship” is timely and an opportunity for public discourse on this very important topic. Significantly, the theme addresses the inherent responsibilities that necessarily accompany modern mass communications as it engages at the new frontier of technology.
“A constant theme of Pope Benedict is evangelisation through the media. Regarding new technology, in recent years, the Church in Ireland has incorporated the internet into its communications suite, so that now, parishes, dioceses and religious orders have established dedicated websites so to promote online the mission of the Church and the Good News generally.
“But we must mindful too of the dark side of technology use. As Cardinal Brady suggested last week when launching the new website for the Bishops’ Conference www.catholicbishops.ie ‘The positive and negative aspects of the internet are two sides of the same coin: Used constructively, its potential contribution to the common good is limitless. However, its cynical use, as a vehicle for exploitation, especially of children, and to attack and destroy generally, also makes the internet a potentially hostile place.’”
Bishop Duffy continued, “As next year’s theme suggests, with new technology comes the requirement for new relationships. Concerning the relationship between the Church and the media, while both promote differing cultures, I believe that each can flourish and coexist in an atmosphere of truth as long as this relationship is underpinned by respect, dialogue and friendship.
“World Communications Day is an important date in the calendar of the Universal Church and it was the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican Council. Whether as media producers or media end-users, we are all stakeholders in this influential sector. Accordingly, as Catholics, we should be ever vigilant when it comes to supporting or challenging positions taken by, or via, the media, especially if such positions hold implications for the mission of the Church.
Bishop Duffy concluded: “I look forward to the publication of the Pope’s Message for the 43rd World Day of Social Communications on 24 January 2009, the Feast of St Francis de Sales, the Patron Saint of journalists.”
Notes for editors
- Bishop Joseph Duffy, Bishop of Clogher, is Chair of the Communications Commission of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and a member of its Department of Planning and Communications
- The 43rd World Day of Social Communications will be celebrated in almost all countries on the Sunday before Pentecost Sunday, 24 May 2009.
- Previous themes addressed by Pope Benedict in his messages for World Communications Day have been:
– 2007: Children and the Media: a Challenge for Education
– 2008: The Media: At the Crossroads between Self-Promotion and Service. Searching for the Truth in order to Share it with Others