GDC 160: Social Communication

We wrap up the final three sections of the GDC’s Part Three, The Pedagogy of Faith, with two posts on social communications. The title is heavily footnoted, and even though most of these documents predated the internet age, much of what they say can and should be applied to the so-called “new media.”

The references are many: Cf. General Catechetical Directory 122-123; Evangelii Nuntiandi 45; Catechesi Tradendae 46; Familaris Consortio 76; Christifedeles Laici 44; Redemptoris Missio 37; Aetatis Novae; Ecclesia in Africa 71.

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”.(Redemptoris Missio 37) For this reason, in addition to the numerous traditional means in use, the media has become essential for evangelization and catechesis.(Cf. Aetatis Novae 11) 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”.(Cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi 45)

Remember that Evangelii Nuntiandi is Paul VI’s, and it dates to 1975. The new tools of communication are indeed powerful, and we know they are used for ill by many. The Church, rather than reject them in skepticism, really must maximize their use, just as we focus on the communication directly from one voice to another’s ear.

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.(Cf. Catechesi Tradendae 46)All of these media offer a particular service and everybody will have (her or) his own specific use for them. It is therefore necessary to appreciate their importance and to respect their demands.(Cf. General Catechetical Directory 122) 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.

Cost is not often as much a concern as it might have been two generations ago, or even one. Our poverty is in the vision of applying new forms to the service of a more effective witness of faith.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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