XII. SOCIAL COMMUNICATION
43. Social Communication: the Media
- The faithful should first of all use the media for the sake of evangelization, the spread of truth, and the missions, and should support media which upholds the moral law while shunning media which is morally bad.
A. Aims and Purposes.
a. Purpose. “Media [should be used] to contribute to men’s entertainment and instruction”, as well as evangelization and catechesis (IM2). The media should be “like salt and light [and] give savor to the earth and brighten the world” (IM24). Finally, the “harm all too often done to society” through their misuse must be avoided (IM2).
b. Evangelisation and Christian Perfection. The Catholic Church must see to it first of all that the media is used to announce “the Good News of salvation”, as well as “instruct men in their proper use [and] instruct and guide the faithful so that with the help of these same media they may further the salvation and perfection of themselves and of the entire human family” (IM3).
B. Obligations with Regards to the Media.
a. Support for Morally Good Presentations. The faithful have a “special obligation [to] favor those presentations that are outstanding for their moral goodness, their knowledge and their artistic or technical merit” (IM9) or “that have value as decent entertainment” (IM14). This can be done by “join[ing] in projects and enterprises for the production and distribution of decent films [and] patronizing or jointly sponsoring theaters operated by Catholic and responsible managers” (IM14) as well as other “good radio and television programs”, which should be given “effective support” (IM14). The faithful should see to it that media which is “family” friendly.
b. Avoidance of Morally Harmful Presentations. But the faithful must also “avoid those that may be a cause or occasion of spiritual harm” (IM9), including “communications or presentations concerning religious matters [which] are [not] entrusted to worthy and experienced hands [or] are carried out with fitting reverence” (IM11).
c. Catholic Stations and Programming. To these ends, the faithful should “promote . . . Catholic programs” (IM14) as well as set up “Catholic stations” wherever possible (IM14).
d. Sound Public Opinion. “All must strive, through these media as well, to form and spread sound public opinion” (IM8).
e. Formation of Conscience. They ought also to follow such judgments according to the norms of an upright conscience [formed] with suitable aids (IM9).
C. Media Producers. Producers of media should “join professional associations, which [at least] oblige their members to show respect for morality” and cater to the young, by offering “a press and entertainment that offer them decent amusement and cultural uplift” (IM11).
D. Evangelisation and the Missions.
a. General. The faithful should cooperate to “make effective use of the media of social communication in various apostolic endeavors . . . first of all by carrying out their individual duties or office expertly and with an apostolic spirit, and, further, by being of direct help in the pastoral activity . . . through their . . . talents” (IM13).
b. Missions. “[The media] should be used to furnish such mission information that the faithful may feel this mission work to be their very own, and may open their hearts to such vast and profound human needs, and may come to their assistance. It is also necessary to coordinate the information, and to cooperate with national and international agencies” (AG36).
c. Catholic Stations and Programs. To this end, the faithful should if possible even set up “Catholic stations” (IM14) and “promote” “Catholic programs” (IM 14).
E. Pastoral Plan for Achieving Aims. The hierarchy should do four things to achieve these aims.
a. Appointments and Training. In the first place, “priests, religious, and laity who are equipped with the proper skills for adapting these media to the objectives of the apostolate should be appointed promptly [while laymen] ought to be afforded technical, doctrinal and moral training; [and therefore] the number of school faculties and institutes should be increased [offering] sound training that is imbued with the Christian spirit” (IM15).
b. Catholic Press. Secondly, “a truly Catholic press should be set up and encouraged . . . with the clear purpose of forming, supporting and advancing public opinion in accord with natural law and Catholic teaching and precepts” while “the faithful ought to be advised of the necessity both to spread and read the Catholic press to formulate Christian judgments on all events” (IM14).
c. National Media Offices. Third, “national offices for affairs of the press, films, radio and television [shall] be established everywhere and given every aid” with the mission of ensuring that “consciences . . . are properly instructed” in the use of the media and that “whatever is done by Catholics in these areas” are “fostered and guided” (IM21).
d. Day for Social Communications. Fourth and finally, “there should be celebrated a day on which the faithful are instructed in their responsibilities in regard [to social communications]” and are “invited to pray and contribute funds for this cause” (IM18).