GDC 209-210: The media of communication

I think a bit more would be said about the mass media if this document were updated today. The internet has brought a whole new dynamic to catechesis.

209. Intrinsically connected with the question of language is that of the means of communication. One of the most effective and pervasive means is the mass media. “The very evangelization of modern culture depends to a great extent on the influence of the media”. (Redemptoris Missio 37)

The quote from John Paul II is apt, and there’s no doubt the influence of the mass media is pervasive. Count me a skeptic on how effective it is. Much of the media is built to sell. I don’t think believers are in the market to sell a product as much as we evangelize through personal example and persuasion. The pervasive attitude on the ministry/volunteer front is that if you promote it, they will come. And if they don’t come, they and/or the Holy Spirit didn’t want to come.

While not repeating what has already been said of the mass media elsewhere, (Cf. Part III, chap. 2) some indications are proposed as useful in inculturation: a greater appreciation of the media for their specific communication quality, while realizing the importance of balancing the language of image and that of word; the safeguarding of the genuine religious meaning of selected forms of expression; the promotion of critical maturity among audiences, stimulating them to a deep, personal discernment of what has been received from the media; the production of catechetical aids congruent with this aim and the effective co-operation of all those engaged in pastoral initiatives. (Cf. General Catechetical Directory 123)

What is said here about “the language of image” may well be taken to include centuries-old expressions in art.

210. The catechism and, above all, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is central to the process of inculturation, and it must be used so as to evince a “vast range of services… which aim at inculturation, which, to be effective, must never cease to be true”. (John Paul II, to the members of COINCAT l.c.)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church expressly calls for the preparation of appropriate local catechisms, incorporating those adaptations required by difference of culture, age, spirituality and in the social and ecclesial situations of those to whom catechesis is addressed. (Catechism 24; Fidei Depositum 4)

And as we’ve read before, the case for the many spin-off documents is offered for your approval. Comments?

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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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