Church and Communication


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Brussels/Montréal(AMARC/SIGNIS) - More than 250 community radio practitioners met in Accra, Ghana, in August to participate in the 11th International Conference of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC). This unique event has helped to address issues related to development, sustainability and growth of community radio in the world.

One of the strengths of AMARC is that it can count on talented journalists, producers and artisans who work tirelessly in the many resorts that make up the network. With this support, AMARC launched an international program of thematic radio campaigns featuring content produced by community radio.

Structured around various themes such as climate change, rural development, gender equality, cultural and linguistic minorities, Indigenous peoples and other social, economic and political issues, these radio campaigns will aim to highlight the importance of the work of community radio as the voice of communities. In addition, they will relay on a global scale, the quality and diversity of the network’s voices.

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By launching this international program of radio campaigns, AMARC wishes to strengthen its support to network members, its ties with partners whose voices it carries, promote access to information and convey the messages of marginalized populations. Francesco Diasio, Secretary General of AMARC, says the objective of this fund is twofold: "This is to encourage the participation of community radio stations in the debates of civil society, to strengthen links with communities and to support the producers to ensure the stability of the radios".

Published in Attualitá

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (CNS) -- A new radio program launched in the Palm Beach Diocese in June with a focus on shedding light on pro-life issues, and sharing ways to get involved in promoting the culture of life in the not-so-pro-life world.

Organizers believe the program may be the only one of its kind in Florida, if not the United States, that is broadcast from a site across the street from an abortion clinic.

"We are doing battle on the frontlines," said Anne Lotierzo, a parishioner of St. Joseph Parish in Stuart, who hosts "CrossRoads" with Duane Berreth, a parishioner of St. Mark the Evangelist in Fort Pierce. Berreth, a grand Knight of Columbus, heads the parish's respect life ministry.

"We like being at the front lines. That is where the battle is," Lotierzo said in an interview with the Florida Catholic, Palm Beach's diocesan newspaper.

"CrossRoads" airs on WJPP 100.1 FM (Prince of Peace Radio) that reaches listeners in areas of Stuart, Palm City, Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce. "I think the program idea is great," said Eva Daniel-Barrera, a parishioner of St. Mark the Evangelist. "The program will let everybody know about current pro-life issues. There are a lot of concerns today."

Computer users can tune in through the Internet to hear broadcast as well as "You won't hear the issues we will cover on mainstream media," said Lotierzo about the program, which has commentary, guests, and special features and discussions with a Catholic, pro-life perspective.

Lotierzo and Berreth, both directors of the Pregnancy Care Centers of Fort Pierce and Stuart, a nonprofit organization dedicated to pro-life education and saving babies, have set up a studio in a back room of the care center in Fort Pierce. It is across the street from Woman's World Medical Center, an abortion facility. "I have been out on the streets in front of the abortion clinic since 1995," said Berreth about joining groups on the sidewalks near the abortion clinic to pray and provide witness to the pro-life movement. "If this (the radio broadcast) goes well, it will go nationwide and be syndicated."

The weekly one-hour program premiered June 9 with Father Frank Pavone as the first guest. He is national director of Priests for Life and president of the Christian coalition National Pro-life Religious Council. The priest also is a national pastoral director of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, organized to make the public more aware of the effects abortion has on both women and men, and Rachel's Vineyard, a healing ministry for those suffering in the aftermath of abortion. "I have never been more confident that we are closer to seeing the end of legal abortion," Father Pavone said, as he joined the co-hosts by phone. He sees a weakened abortion industry and pointed to changes in state and federal laws "recognizing the unborn as a real human being." "We see changes in the laws laying the groundwork and moving us into that direction. We are seeing similar changes in public opinion," said the priest, who has been involved in the pro-life movement since 1976.

The conversation turned at one point to sweeping changes over the last decades and modern society's growing acceptance of divorce, sex outside of marriage, same-sex relationships and babies born out of wedlock. "How do we bring the light to the truth?" Lotierzo asked. "Two words come to mind," Father Pavone replied. "One is 'witness' and the other is 'suffering.' Witness means we have to live out the truth in our church in our families and in our communities." "The second thing is suffering. We are all in this together and we all have to suffer together," he said. "We need to reach out in love to the people who need our help: the divorced, the lonely, those who are suffering from the wound of abortion, those who are confused about their sexuality. We need to reach out in love and show people we are here to help people follow the law of God."

Lotierzo and Berreth hope to change hearts with "CrossRoads." "Simply said, we hope to inform, educate and inspire listeners to take action," said Lotierzo. "We live by the motto 'We can make a difference, we must make a difference,' and I hope that is something we can communicate to our listeners and that they can come to embody that same motto."

(By Linda Reeves)

Published in Attualitá

Uganda ( -  Stem Van Afrika, a Foundation that supports community based media in Africa in collaboration with Social Communications Department of Uganda Episcopal Conference and CAMECO, has rolled out five-month project with an aim to help improve the community Radio Stations effectiveness and sustainability.

Speaking to AMECEA Online News via phone from Kampala, Fr. Philip Odii, the National Communications Secretary for the Bishops Conference, said that the project which will be carried out in phases has began in Kampala with a training of 20 radio journalists from 12 community radio stations, from 1st to 11th July, 2014. Among the participating radio stations are seven owned by the Catholic Church in Uganda. They include Radio Sapientia, Jubilee Radio, Radio Pacis, Radio Wa, Kyoga Veritus, Delta Radio, and Kasese Guide Radio.

The objective of the training is to build the capacity of community radio stations in Uganda in measuring and understanding their listeners/target audiences, assessing the values and impacts of their programming. It will also help them to use the data collected to make informed decisions about their programming and community engagements in order to retain/attract listeners and generate income/resources for sustainability.

The facilitators of the training came from Audience Dialogue, a Communications Consultancy based in Adelaide, South Australia, which specializes in media research, evaluation, marketing, and futures assessment.

In expressing the appreciation for the training, Fr. Odii said, "Ms. Petra Stammen from the Catholic Media Council (CAMECO) recommended us to Stem Van Afrika for this project for which we are grateful and more so happy because she is here for the training as a representative from the donors.”

The implementation phase follows immediately after the training and this will take three months.

“I will accompany the training facilitators to visit the radio stations whose staff received the training to assess how the programs are being implemented during the three months, which runs from July to October,” Fr. Odii said.

The visits are meant to assess the trained journalists on how they carry out the implementation of the acquired skills during their training and give guidance accordingly.

November 2014 will mark the final phase of the project which will include sharing of research findings, experiences and the evaluation of the implementation phase as well as building the support network for the participating radios.

By Pamela Adinda

Published in Attualitá


Communication is the heart of the Church. Christ and his lived experience, characterised by mobility was a vibrant, multifaceted communication in itself. He was always on the move, reaching out on foot, on camel back and by boat. In our times, modern communication technology, including social media should enhance the Church's evangelisation ministry. In Her reference to the media, the Church carefully foregrounds the adjective social communication to emphasize how She positions herself in the world of the media. As expressed by Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in Africa, we now proclaim the Gospel in our mass-media-saturated culture and civilization. Therefore, we cannot, but embrace these instruments to facilitate the Mission of Christ (EA 71). The entire world is our Grand Audience because the message of the Gospel is the highest point of shared human values. These values need to permeate, seamlessly, our cultures. We have to be in the mass media because today the world looks for education, guidance, spirituality, and role models therein. The Good News and the media, in this case, share the same objective of unifying humanity in a network of "global village" experience. The synergy between the two is what should interest the Church, as this conference is rightly doing.

Today what is evident, and gives reason for joy, is the fact that in spite of infrastructural and financial challenges and the evident digital divide between the global west and the south, Africa has embraced the modern communication technologies as a life line that facilitate faster and more efficient communication; and offers greater opportunity to translate their zeal to express their discipleship. The availability of the optic fibre cables and satellite communications have propelled the continent forward in accessing information almost at the same rate as any other part of the world. The fact that comparatively, the continent still experience great lack often makes individuals more creative and ingenuous in using the scarce technological resources than one who lives in affluence would. This vitality of the Church in Africa is part of the "good news" that needs to be transmitted through the media that is now at our disposal, to inspire the Universal Church of God. For this to be done, however, the latent and raw human and material resources need to be harnessed into active resources, through formation and education.
Action Points

In the interest of time, I will not focus on the achievements of the communication departments in the continent, but rather on what still needs to be done to achieve even better results. Granted that the levels of successes and challenges differ from country to country, many areas of need cut across Africa. The communication needs range from the basic (the more traditional) to the use of the New Media and technology. In spite of the growing number of people living in cities, the majority of Africans still live in rural areas with none or very little access to electricity and modern technology. In this situation, how best can the Church communicate the integral Gospel of Christ? Often, a multi-media approach is desirable as no single medium can comprehensively address the needs.

In line with Jesus' traditional approach to communication, we need to renew and activate our human communication as the starting point. It is easy in our fast-paced world, to de-emphasize this aspect of physical, face-to-face communication. The social media add great advantages to our essential communication that foreground the human person. The correspondence between speaking and listening, eye contacts and ears unplugged by gadgets so that one is present to the other in the act of communication remain qualitative aspects of communication. Indeed, the New Media such as Skype, voice mail, teleconferencing, try to simulate face-to-face communication. It is important that we keep the equilibrium and put the accent on human communication.

1. Direct communication: we need to renew and enrich this mode of communication. I recall how priests, religious, catechists, and pastoral agents used to engage in home visits in their parishes. The purpose of this was to "take God's blessings" to families. This were, also, occasions for significant conversations with the pastoral agents, confessions, conversions, promotion of Christian living and overall renewal of faith. That homes were 'susceptible' to visits by pastoral agents did not only motivate families to live in harmony, it also made them work harder to improve their material well fare since they may get such visitors. In parishes where such home visits still happen, there is evident increase in the participation and commitment of the faithful to the growth of the local church, because they feel ownership of the Church. Pastoral agents are very significant people in introducing holistic development to communities in Africa. This is a continuation of the mission of Jesus to bring abundant life to all. This priestly ministry needs to be fore-grounded and reinforced in evangelisation, especially in the rural communities where the pastor's physical presence is in itself a laudable communication.

2. Furthermore, the Church in Africa desires to be aligned to the teachings of the Church, articulated in the Encyclicals, Council document, and pastoral letters of the pastors. It is important that the priests as principal pastoral agents in the parishes have access to these documents in either soft or hard copies as circumstances may dictate. It is their principal responsibility to take interest in these documents so that they get down to the last Christian. Various medium of communication ranging from the pulpit, to means that are more modern, should be at their disposal to ensure the messages are transmitted and shared as good news. These important documents need to be simplified where necessary, explained, and interpreted to fit into the needs of the contextual end user. In this way, communication would dispel ignorance, enhance the Church's function as a unified body, and facilitate up-down and down-up flow of communication among the members of the same body.

3. In the context of Africa, the priest and his use of the Word through the pulpit enjoys a privileged position, especially in rural parishes where the faithful may depend on the Sunday sermons for spiritual guidance and material empowerment. However, the pulpit still predominantly employs a mono-logic and unidirectional style of communication. This traditional style needs to be re-invigorated with the use of the media, and made more interactive in order to retain the attention of audiences. Today church congregations are made up of people who are attuned to the mass-media's more interactive mode. This fact makes it imperative for us to adapt some of these methods to enhance participation. The digital media offers a great potential to boost communication for evangelization, and to create opportunities for interactions, and short reflections with parishioners, through SMS (short message service), blogs, twitter, facebook.

4. The Radio in its portability and accessibility remains an important medium of communication in Africa. The radio, especially the FM stations are accessible in even the rural parts. The secondary orality embedded in this mode of communication that is akin to the dominant mode of communication is Africa – orality – makes it attuned to the needs of the people at many levels. Radio communication, whether it comes as a message, an announcement, a folktale, or even a spiritual teaching, comes dressed in a cultural garb that the audiences identify with. The radio is a companion for all categories of people as they work in the garden, do domestic chores, walk on the road, or even rest in their living room or under a tree. Community radios and Radio Maria are already doing commendable job for evangelization and holistic development purposes, where they exist. This needs to be improved.

5. The cell phone that has proved to be multi-media in itself, offers a great opportunity for Africa. In its adaptability to meet a wide range of community needs, it surpasses the radio. Through the private and informal sector, the cell phone has helped Africa to creatively by-pass its infrastructural and development challenges and to leap towards communication development. In a country like Uganda, about 80% of the population is estimated to have access to cell phone; and it is used for multi-purpose: as radio, TV, Internet, fast business transaction and money transfers. In a single village, one may find 4 antennas of competing companies vying for clients; and individuals may have 2 to 3 phones or network services/lines to ingeniously choose the better service provider at given times. This is similar to what is happening in many sub-Saharan African countries like Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia. Although people are economically poor, because the value of being connected is undeniable, their daily budget has a slot for radio batteries, cell phone battery recharge, and airtime in order to remain in "business." Given the challenges of infrastructure such as roads (easier means of communication) and electricity, Africans have no option but to frog-jump and jump-start the access to technology: yes, even to the latest innovations.

6. All around the globe, individuals and companies invest in communication because of its categorical role in the healthy function of an entire system. For us to realise greater success in the church's Mission, we must invest in communication at every level of the Apostolic Ministry. Given the imperative of the need to adapt technology and new forms of communication to enliven our pastoral work, it is important that church communicators be trained in the uses of, especially the electronic media for this purpose. Training needs to match the communication needs of the church. To varying degrees, this is a cry across Africa. There is so much potential, so many talented and creative persons, so much enthusiasm for the mission; but these need to be unleashed for efficient output through formation.

7. Networking and synergy between the communication department and other pastoral ministries is crucial. The continent's experience is that in some dioceses, the communication department is treated as a redundant appendage in relation to other departments. This is reflected in the minimal budget allotted to the department. Yet in some dioceses, the communication department is non-existent. It is true that often funds are hardly enough for the different departments in a diocese; and in its cementing role, it is easy to sideline the communication department in this case. However, to sacrifice communication is to cripple the entire system. It is for this reason that I quote Aetatis Novae, "Thus, not only should there be a pastoral plan for communications, but communications should be an integral part of every pastoral plan, for it has something to contribute to virtually every other apostolate, ministry, and program" (Cf AN no.17). In this regard, every diocese in Africa needs to examine its communication strategy from diocesan down to the Basic Christian Communities level, to assess how information flows in the entire unit. A comprehensive communication strategy that is coordinated and functional in a mutually reinforcing manner in all departments precedes dioceses with success stories in evangelisation. Where communication is slot in as an afterthought, or simply as a strategy for organising a particular function, we cannot expect great success in our pastoral work. Instead, it will be wastage of resources.

8. Networking among the media, as instruments of evangelisation in Africa, is equally vital. At one level, The New Media now makes it easier for Church communicators in Africa to be more in touch with each other, and easily share information and even expertise. The human person is a central medium that should be fore-grounded among the instruments; for just like other media, the human person is not only a witness, but also creates the environment and atmosphere for faith sharing through their comportment and attitude. The reference to the media as "Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization" (Cf. 47th World Communications Day message) underscores this sense of communicators being "highways" that attract and enable people to enter into experience with God. In this sense, physical proclamation as lived experience remains a laudable form of communication. At another level, the written word, the still and moving image; the radio and cell phone; the Internet; the social media forms; can effectively function in synergy. Emphasis on particular media needs to be determined by the contextual needs, following a clear diocesan communication strategy. In most cases, a multi-media approach is inevitable: for instance, a written text may be explained during Sunday sermon, presented as a talk show on TV or an interactive call-in session. Some of the approaches that are considered old media in the "developed" world may still need to be reinforced in Africa, the oldest, resourceful, yet most under-developed continent in the world.

9. In summary, the acquisition of knowledge, especially in the use electronic and new technologies, general formation of communicator, valuation of communication as a core department in the Church's Apostolic Ministry, and commitment not only in recruiting qualified human resources in the communication department, but also retaining them through decent remuneration, are some of the needs of the communication department in Africa. Addressing these would make our media more competitive enough to attract people to the Good News of the Gospel in the context of the grand modern Areopagus where we all meet and interact.


By Sr. Dominica Dipio (MSMMC) - Makerere University, Kampala (Uganda)

Published in Contributi


Susana Nuin - CELAM


In this report we wish to flash on Communication in Latin America. The scenario is large, so we will take as reference the Latin American Episcopal Council CELAM, since this institution has a history of nearly 57 years, and gives us a parameter-measurement of time for our presentation.
A first sign: it indicates the Latin American feeling and living
What is CELAM? Many of you know this Latin American organism, consisting of Bishops, and to the service of communion, collegiality and communication, as it says in its statutes. Institution that has preceded the Second Vatican and that has always been in dialogue with the Universal Church and the Second Vatican Council itself, through its Continental Conferences, such as the first one in Rio de Janeiro (1955), the second one in Medellin (1968), the third one in Puebla (1979), the fourth one in Santo Domingo (1992), and the fifth and last one in Aparecida (2007). Such events marked the path of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Communion - collegiality - communication
The Church's hierarchy in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is organized through the creation of an institution whose sole purpose is based on being to the Latin American Church service, accompanying the Episcopal Conferences in their emergence, providing them services and responding to their needs in the long walk. This perspective indicates a style of living and doing communication in the Church of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The right to communication and the new legislation
Likewise, important sectors of the Church in LAC accompanied by CELAM nascent structures, and since the '60s, driving the importance of the right to communicate, and they do so not only showing the dimension of the information but the full dimension of human communication, of social communication, as typical Christian dimension. There are many documents that reveal it, and the facts that endure even today, which tell us that the Church is committed to this challenge. Undoubtedly, the Church has fertilized the social fabric, creating awareness on exercising and embodying the right to communicate in new legislations. Today our continent is crossed by the proposals, designs and implementations of legislation in communication. Most of these laws arise from "the basis", from the village, and are sponsored in Church spaces. The new current legislation is certainly not the end of a "legal plus" about it, but it is a way of decades to new forms of participation, inclusion and citizenship, in the design of feeling and craving another kind of communication.

A communication that never was neutral
In LAC, communication has never been called or considered neutral; it always took the shades of Latin American society life. For example, communication linked to politics, to economics, to human rights. And from the Church, the fact of not being neutral put it in relation to the human development, to the defense of the dignity of the individual and communities, in relation to the development of the individual and of peoples. And in this communication style, Catholic Church has played a central role, at the point of creating a powerful movement typically Latin American, which is called: alternative communication or community communication. In this highway has walked communication in LAC, during these five decades, as a seedbed of ideas, proposals, projects and programs of high commitment to evangelization. We will enumerate some of these expressions to give faces to what we are emphasizing.

Radio networks to serve people
Radio stations that are born on the continent with the strong concern of reaching the rural inhabitants, with a clear decision to literacy as a path to a decent life, are considered very good examples of promoting community activity to find economic solutions, or of organizing as a community. The Catholic radio stations across the continent are today about 700. Certainly in these decades, many radio stations turned on and turned off, according to the needs and possibilities, but the fact is that the contribution to the development of peoples, to their growth in education and evangelization has been extraordinarily significant. Just think radio network of the Latin American Association for Radio Education 400 radios linked – (ALER) that was born of seeds planted by the Church, Bishop Leonidas Proaño network founded in 1962: Popular Radio Schools of Ecuador (ERPE), a school radio project. INCUPO, Institute of Popular Culture in Argentina, Fe y Alegría network in the field of education, which mean until now a significant number of radio stations that link the continent. There are also the typical stations of bishoprics and parishes, including the international network of Radio Maria that is present in Latin America and although it was not born on the continent, you can not underestimate its contribution.

Training centers: pioneers in the continent
There are communication centers that born, grow and multiply, which are centers of alternative or community media, all they are expressions of a popular communication style capable of challenging in the actions in the human and geographical peripheries. These Centers develop extensive training on the continent for thousands of communicators with peculiar characteristics. Training that is oriented to popular communicators that act after in border places in the religious, social, rural or educational world, or even graduated communicators who received integrative training of communication in its various disciplines, in its various forms of acting. Centers where theory and practice found its direct link in the act, pioneer centers in Latin America in training, important plants of ideas, and certainly significant in the publishing world in the field of communication and social sciences of the continent.

By the way of theory and praxis: the inseparable binomial
Multiple authors that drinking of the Church light in LAC, and of its five Continental Conferences, sponsored and called in countless conferences, courses, workshops, laboratories, developed in these 50 years of work important lines of Latin American thought in the area of the Communication Sciences as Pasquali (Venezuela) in the field of transcendent communication, as Kaplun (Uruguay) in relation to popular communication, the organizational communication of Ramiro Beltrán (Bolivia) or rural communication of Díaz Bordenave (Paraguay). And in education for communication, called edu-communication, many have been the teachers in recent years including Fuenzalida (Chile), also Guillermo Orozco (Mexico) worked the critical reading of the image, Regina Festa in Brazil, Daniel Prieto Castillo (Argentina) in the field of planning, Rosana Reguillo (Mexico) in her work on the right to communicate. Only a few examples of a long list of representatives of excellence, which would make it very difficult to name. Alongside religious who have contributed from many angles to read the magisterium, the signs of the times, the way of God in every moment of these decades, are all those who have received important contributions from Christian inspiration, which have contributed on different fronts of communication. The Latin American authors involve the exercise of weaving theory and practice in a unique way, many have done communication practices for years that enabled with time to think these processes and refine thought lines. Others have thought and embodied communicative realities.

Latin America and the Caribbean, voices network
Born radio networks, networks of Catholic communicators, networks of scholars of the image, many networks across the continent, that were originally Catholic, join to be able to contribute more to society. It is a reality that they have emerged to promote joint work, walking together, to offer new realities to the societies in which they live and operate. An example, Computer Network of the Church in Latin America is a network of more than twenty years of experience that emerges also as a sign of communion between CELAM and PCCS serving the Episcopal Conferences and, at the same time, the entire ecclesial reality in the continent, in the field of digital culture. Currently members develop about 40 programs. As part of the RIIAL emerges Universities Network UNIRED, which aims to research on digital culture, its progress, its possibilities on the continent, its limitations and prospects. Some facts: there are 36 universities with 66 members, 56 researchers, 15 Latin American countries.
Also significant was the action of LAC SIGNIS with representation in each country, and whose work for the right to communication on the continent is permanent, additionally it has brought forward the notice, has continued to denounce the reality before which communicators and journalists are threatened and abused, becoming in a risk profession with high percentages of deaths at the hands of organized crime, drug trafficking or great interests.

Latin American communication highways
We understand that Communications has gone through four basic tracks in Latin America and the Caribbean through the Church in the last 50 years:

• The first one, community communication that has drawn a style of communication and a way to live it, becoming an instrument of study, reflection, evangelization and transformation of reality. Sowing most of the mentioned realities and generating from "the bottom" a consistent manner to evangelize communicating and to communicate evangelizing.
• Secondly, the consciousness that was sowed on communication as a fundamental right of the individual and communities makes a long way that blooms recently in the new legislation, whose major challenge is to open the important communication corporate monopolies (some clung until 360 media) in pursuit of a equitable communication, in the hands of the various social forces of the nations with another kind of wealth distribution and use of goods, though no less threatened by the danger of the state monopoly, a challenge that remains open.
• The third one, the edu-communication, in other countries also defined as mediaeducation, mapped in different decades founded proposals and far-reaching in the communication and in the education, with many experts in the field and with many centers and action laboratories. It offered from educational theory of Paulo Freire and other Latin American educators and communicators, a strong current in thought and action on the subject.
• The fourth one, the conception and incarnation of communication in communion from CELAM, its being and acting, the five Continental Conferences, and all that has meant in the way of communication and collegiality in the continent. In the almost 60 years, CELAM- Episcopal Conferences process was oriented to the service, offering, accompanying and proposing answers to the needs of them.

Where walks CELAM today?

Ancient collegiality and ever new
Where walks CELAM on communications today? First, it walks to strengthen the paths of Latin American Episcopal collegiality, recognizing the new time in which is the process of relating CELAM-Episcopal Conferences where these have grown over the decades with their own development. We see that today is a reciprocal link relationship work in fostering, promoting and serving the Episcopal Conferences that leads to another communicative potential for which we are implementing different strategies, proposals and instruments. A concrete example is Episcopal Communication Platform, named, of which we will make a presentation. It is an agenda driven by CELAM and PCCS, conceived in the framework of the RIIAL and developed in its application by CELAM with collaboration of RIIAL Guadalupe Centre. It is for bishops, designed for development in different directions of communication, including their dioceses, Episcopal conferences, regions, with the CELAM and with different instances of Rome. It carries with it the virtual communicative dimension and the virtual training, and aims to promote collegiality and communion.

To what anthropology belongs our communication?
Regarding communication arises to establish clear foundations in relation to theology. CELAM in the Department of Communication has led communication theology works that have illuminated and accompanied the progress made in these decades. At this point we consider the importance of Trinitarian Anthropology as a substantial contribution to the universities of the continent in terms of communication and all training instances, realizing that there will be no transformation of evangelical communicative reality, but from a Trinitarian perspective, falling even in conceptions of the common good individualistically. For this reason we have already begun a journey of reflection and production of inputs in this regard.

Multiple expressions in response of service to Church in Latin America and the Caribbean
With respect to all other services that CELAM offers, we send herewith the plan of communication programs which are being implemented.
A characteristic note for years is the bond of effective and affective communion between CELAM and PCCS. Currently we have a set of five programs that testify it: 1) permanent accompaniment to RIIAL, 2) implementation of Episcopal Communicative Platform, 3) communication training itinerary for Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2013-2014 to develop in more than 8 places to about 50 Bishops per group, for forming and training in communication for communion, collegiality and evangelization capable of transforming reality. It is estimated to be formed in the present term almost 40-45% of the 980 Latin American Bishops in service. 4) Training for the faculties of Communication and 5) the diocesan seminaries.

Diagnosis and perspectives
We might ask: Is communication in LAC in order within the Church? And we could answer honestly, there is much to be done at different levels. We note some priority points that remain as challenges for the future that we hope not too distant future.
It is on the agenda conceived from the Public Relations Department of CELAM
• To offer Catholic universities true incarnation signals, so that graduates could be true professionals, able to build transformation, from the Gospel, of religious, communication, social, cultural and political reality, no longer in intimate circles or marked by power or private interests, but active and participative actors in the structural impact of societies.
• To help building communication bridges regarding historical communication of our continent. We know that its origin is ancient, we know the richness of our indigenous and communities of African descent, but there are not deep Christian responses to these periods and historical processes, including the world of colonization and of so-called novo Hispanic. From the communication is possible to start something before the end of this period.
• To face the constant challenge that Latin America can offer its assets in Communication to the other continents. We believe it is essential to make an effort, that LAC contribute with more evaluations and systematizations of the multiple processes achieved and offer them to live the evangelic dimension, in short, do not to put the lamp under the table.
• To encourage stages and permanent circuits where Episcopal collegiality, which changes in time its bishops agents, can remain in the freshness of the Episcopal College model of communion and communication, witnessed by Jesus and His community.

(Dr. Susana Nuin - CELAM, Bogota, September 15, 2013)

Published in Risorse

(Città del Vaticano).- The First Level Masters in Social Communication, in the Missionary and Intercultural Context, promoted by the Urbaniana Pontifical University, intends to form in the Church professionals in the world of Social Communication and of the Means of Mass Communication. The Masters program is particularly recommended to the young people, religious or laity, who intend to work in areas characterized by various missionary commitments, by multi-cultures and by inter-religious dialogue. 

The objective is to avail to them theoretical, ethical, socio-anthropological and ecclesial knowledge necessary for the realization and management of the means of mass communication. In addition, it is aimed at availing practical skills on the logistics of production, realization and economic management of periodicals, networks, a press office, a radio or TV program, Video shooting and documentaries in the intercultural contexts of scarce resources and the digital divide. 

The Masters program is furnished with a qualified and extremely competent teaching panel, which is international and comprised of persons directly and concretely involved in the world of multimedia and social communication. 

The program is intensive and requires a constant participation. It however lasts only for one academic year including even the professional apprenticeship to be done in the principal catholic media houses in Rome and Italy at large (Radio Vaticana, RadioinBlù, Radio Meridiano12, TV2000, SIR,  MISNA, H2O, MABq, Zenit, Radio Maria World Family, etc). 

The masters is a title of specialization, that is of the Second level( it requires therefore students with at least a bachelors degree) and consists of 90 ETCS (European Transfer Credits System).

Published in Attualitá

Vatican City (Vatican Radio) Announcing Vatican Radio’s intention to reduce its Short and Medium Wave transmissions to most of Europe and the Americas, starting July 1st, the Director General, Fr Federico Lombardi, today spoke of what he called, “A new chapter in the history of Vatican Radio” as it evolves “from Short Waves to new communications strategies”.

Here is the full text of his comments.

“After celebrating its 80th birthday last year, Vatican Radio is ready to open a new chapter in its history by committing its message of service to the Gospel and the Church to new communication technologies.

Vatican Radio’s 40 different language programmes can currently be received via satellite and the internet, and are rebroadcast by around a thousand local radio stations on FM or Medium Wave in over 80 countries around the world.

They are also available live on five web channels, on demand and in podcast, from Vatican Radio’s website at

Written reports and texts on the website represent 40 languages in 13 different alphabets and provide a wealth of information. Daily RSS feeds and newsletters are sent to subscribers in a variety of languages, including Chinese, Hindi and Tamil, aside from European languages.

Close collaboration between Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Centre has led to the development of on-line video services and an innovative instrument called the “Vatican Player”, which offers sound and images of Papal events, live and on demand, texts and written reports related to those events, and a permanent link to the Pope’s Agenda of public activities. The Vatican Player allows websites all over the world to receive and redistribute images, sound and text concerning the Pope and the Holy See, on a regular basis.

The 24-hour “Vatican Radio Live” channel has a strong audience on FM in the Rome area and on DAB and DAB+ in most of Italy, and encourages ongoing dialogue between life and culture in Italy and the Catholic Church in the country.

Webcasting and satellite transmissions, along with rebroadcasting by local, regional and national radio stations, guarantee the widest possible outreach to Vatican Radio’s programming and services. Which is why Vatican Radio believes the time has come to reduce its reliance on traditional technologies, like Short and Medium Wave broadcasts, and to develop its resources in new directions.

On July 1st, Short and Medium Wave broadcasts from Vatican Radio’s Santa Maria di Galeria Transmission Centre, to most of Europe and the Americas, will be suspended. These areas of the world are already well served by Vatican Radio’s local rebroadcasting partners and by widespread internet access to its services and language programming.

The reduction of Short and Medium Wave broadcasts to these areas accounts for about 50% of the Centre’s transmission time and will allow Vatican Radio to restructure the Centre according to more innovative technological criteria. Short Wave broadcasts will be further reduced over the next few years – but not at the expense of those poor, needy and suffering parts of the world (like Africa, the Middle East and Asia) which have no alternative means of receiving news of the Church and the voice of the Pope.

Over the next few days, Vatican Radio’s language programmes will be informing their listeners of these changes, indicating alternative ways by which traditional Short and Medium Wave users can listen and benefit from Vatican Radio’s services.

Vatican Radio’s international Short and Medium Wave broadcasts have made a priceless contribution to the history of the Church, especially in 20th century Europe where they were a source of strength and encouragement for nations oppressed by war and totalitarian regimes. As this unique service is gradually phased out, making way for new communications technologies, it is important to thank those who dedicated their hearts and minds to it for so long – and for the good of so many.

Published in Attualitá
Tuesday, 14 February 2012 08:39

Christian radio, the Virgin and the bomb

(Vatican Radio) February 13th is the day we celebrate the very first “World Radio Day” proclaimed by UNESCO.
In its proclamation, UNESCO calls the day a means "to draw attention to the unique value of radio, which remains the medium to reach the widest audience.”
On this occasion, Vatican Radio remembers Lebanon’s Voice of Charity Radio which, in the words of its Director, Fr. Fady Tabet, “miraculously” survived a number of bombings and has lived on to tell its tale, providing true Christian witness in a region in upheaval.

Run by the Catholic Maronite order, the Voice of Charity Radio north of Beirut was bombed in May 2005 – a particularly violent period following the February assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and a spate of bombings in Christian neighbourhoods. Huge protests eventually led to Syria’s troop withdrawal from Lebanon that same year.

In Lebanon, many believed Syria or pro-Syrian political figures were behind the attack on the Voice of Charity. The radio had just run a marathon program expressing solidarity with families of prisoners in Syrian jails, demanding freedom and information about those who had disappeared. 

The next day, a powerful bomb exploded between the Voice of Charity radio station and the Mar Yuhanna in . The radio station was destroyed and the church suffered major damage. Twenty-two people were wounded

Speaking to Vatican Radio’s Tracey McClure, Fr. Fady Tabet remembers that May 6, 2005 in which his life and those of 27 others were spared, he says, with Our Lady’s help.

“This day for us was a miracle – it was a miracle” Fr. Fady reflects. He says he cannot explain why he and 27 other staff members decided to leave the station just six minutes after they had re-entered it upon having celebrated mass next door. It was a decision that saved their lives.

“That’s why I’m telling you it’s a miracle,” he exclaims and notes that the radio has set up “a statue of the Virgin Mary with the bomb” by way of thanks.

“She took the bomb… and helped us to have a new life and to start again because we have a lot of work to do.”

Previous to the bombing in 2005, the Voice of Charity considered its birthday to fall on the day which the Church celebrates Pentacost. 

“But we decided because we had a new life after this bomb, we decided to celebrate the birthday of the radio on that day – so every 6th of May.”

Fr. Fady says the Voice of Charity continues its advocacy work on behalf of Lebanese prisoners in Syrian jails, and produces special memorial programs remembering them every May 6th.

But the Voice of Charity alone, he stresses, is not enough and action must be taken on a political level to address the circumstances of these prisoners.

“We need a strong voice to talk about it… but the situation in Syria now is very dangerous and that’s why no one is talking about the prisoners in (Syrian) jails.”

Listen to Tracey McClure's interview with Fr. Fady Tabet: RealAudioMP3 

Published in Attualitá

28th April 2011

Welcoming Address of Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Rome and to the Vatican for this important meeting.  As I read through your programme, and sought to familiarise myself with your work, I was immediately struck by the extent to which your reflections overlap with issues which are of concern to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.  The mandate of our Council is rather wide-ranging: The Council is concerned with questions about the media of social communication, in order that, through these media, the message of salvation and human progress may be able to bring about an improvement in culture and in conduct.  Over the last few years, and in conjunction with experienced media professionals from around the world, we have been focused on the opportunities and challenges posed by the radical transformations we are witnessing in the culture of communications.  We have also been concerned to promote the importance of media in facilitating informed public debate and in the promotion of human understanding and dialogue.

Radio has long been a key medium of communication in the life of the Church.  In June 2008, our Council organized an international Congress for Catholic Radio which was attended by 100 participants representing 87 different Radio stations from over 40 different countries.  One of the key insights that emerged from that Congress, and one that I have no doubt you will share, is that Radio has an exciting future even in the context of the extra-ordinary developments that are occurring in the so-called "new media".  Far from being made redundant by the emerging digital technologies; it is becoming clear that the potential contribution of Radio is in fact being enhanced by these technologies which allow the audio content of Radio to reach ever wider audiences, in an increased range of formats and without the traditional limitations of time and space.  The specific programme, that in the past would only have been available to those who had a suitable receiver, within a defined geographical region and at a particular time, can today be made available on-line in ways that allow universal access for people at times of their own choosing and using a variety of devices (computers, mp3 players and cell-phones).  It also allows users to share that content with others with whom they may be linked in various forms of social media networks.      

At our Congress, it was also recognized that in this new digital environment Radio will still have its specific contribution; a contribution that is rooted not just in its technical attributes but also in its anthropological dimensions.  Radio was described as a generous medium; Radio allows us to listen as we perform other tasks in a way that would not be possible with other media which require that we focus our attention on text or images.  Radio can accompany us as we go about our daily tasks and, particularly, as we drive.  Radio, which brings together words and sounds in the form of voice, can create a sense of community between different listeners and can create an atmosphere that encourages personal reflection.  For this reason, it was insisted that Radio was a particularly useful medium for those who wish to engage audiences at a deeper level and who, in our context, would wish to invite them to an encounter with the Word of God.  One Catholic commentator has warned:  Visual and electronic media, today's dominant media, need a certain kind of content.  They thrive on brevity, speed, change, urgency, variety and feelings.  But thinking requires the opposite.  Thinking takes time.  It needs silence and the methodical skills of logic.  Radio, at its best, has the capacity to stimulate thought and reflection, to invite debate, to inform and educate.

In the year 2000, our council published a document on Ethics in Communication.  One of the central themes of that document is the importance of media, and especially public broadcasters, in facilitating that dissemination of accurate information that is essential for the healthy functioning of political and civil society.  The media are called to serve human dignity by helping people live well and function as persons in community. Media do this by encouraging men and women to be conscious of their dignity, enter into the thoughts and feelings of others, cultivate a sense of mutual responsibility, and grow in personal freedom, in respect for others' freedom, and in the capacity for dialogue.   Public broadcasters, in particular, must seek to uphold the highest standards of objectivity and truthfulness.  As the British philosopher Onora O'Neill has observed:  If the media mislead, or if readers cannot assess their reporting, the wells of public discourse and public life are poisoned

A particular challenge to dialogue is the, often unarticulated, relativism that is so prevalent in Western culture and the refutation of which has been a key element in the teaching of Pope Benedict.  If there is no such thing as truth, as right or wrong answers, then dialogue becomes meaningless.  It is a shared commitment to searching for truth, rooted in the conviction of the ultimate objectivity of truth, which gives human dialogue and debate their ultimate value - otherwise they become exercises in coercion and manipulation in which each seeks to assert his or her own view without any reference to the claims of truth.  Public broadcasters must try to give expression to the widest possible range of voices and opinion but should seek also to foster dialogue where people of different views work together to form a consensus about those values and attitudes that best promote human well-being and society.  The Church, also, would wish to be present in this dialogue.  As Pope Benedict said, during his meeting in Lisbon with representatives from the world of culture, "The Church – wrote Pope Paul VI – must enter into dialogue with the world in which she lives.  The Church becomes word, she becomes message, she becomes dialogue" (Ecclesiam Suam, 67). Dialogue, without ambiguity and marked by respect for those taking part, is a priority in today's world, and the Church does not intend to withdraw from it. .. Given the reality of cultural diversity, people need not only to accept the existence of the culture of others, but also to aspire to be enriched by it and to offer to it whatever they possess that is good, true and beautiful."

 I would like to leave you with a thought, which is also a challenge, from Pope Benedict:  Just because social communications increase the possibilities of interconnection and the dissemination of ideas, it does not follow that they promote freedom or internationalize development and democracy for all. To achieve goals of this kind, they need to focus on promoting the dignity of persons and peoples, they need to be clearly inspired by charity and placed at the service of truth, of the good, and of natural and supernatural fraternity.

Published in Discorsi



Rome, the eighth day of September, 1957  


Those very remarkable technical inventions which are the boast of the men of our generation, though they spring from human intelligence and industry, are nevertheless the gifts of God, Our Creator, from Whom all good gifts proceed: "for He has not only brought forth creatures, but sustains and fosters them once created".1

Of these inventions, some increase and multiply the strength and power of men; others improve their conditions of life; while others - and these particularly concern the mind - reach the mass of the people themselves, either directly or through the pictures and sounds they produce, and convey to them in a form easy to understand, the news, thoughts and usages of every nation, and by these means provide, as it were, food for the mind especially during the hours of rest and recreation.

With regard to this last type of invention, in our own age the greatest impetus has been received by the arts connected with Motion Pictures, Radio and Television. 


From the time when these arts first came into use, the Church welcomed them, not only with great joy, but also with a motherly care and watchfulness, having in mind to protect Her children from every danger, as they set out on this new path of progress.

This watchful care springs from the mission She has received from the Divine Saviour Himself ; for, as is clear to all, these new forms of art exercise very great influence on the manner of thinking and acting of individuals and of every group of men.

There is, in addition, another reason why the Church considers a matter of this kind to be particularly Her concern: Hers is the duty, and for a much stronger reason than all others can claim, of announcing a message to every man: this is the message of eternal salvation; a message unrivalled in its richness and power, a message, in fine, which all men of every race and every age must accept and embrace, according to the saying of the Apostle of the Gentiles: "To me, the least of all the saints, is given this grace, to preach among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to enlighten all men that they may see what is the mystery which hath been hidden from eternity in God, who created all things".2 


It is therefore not surprising that they who exercise the supreme authority of the Church, have treated of this important matter with the intention of providing for the eternal salvation of those who are "not redeemed with corruptible things of gold and silver... but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled";3 and they have weighed carefully all the questions with which Motion Pictures, Radio, and Television today confront Christians.

More than twenty years have passed since Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI, making use of "the remarkable invention of Marconi", issued the first message by Radio "to all nations and to every creature".4

A few years later, this same predecessor of Ours sent to the Hierarchy of the United States of America that memorable Encyclical Letter entitled Vigilanti Cura.5 In that letter, while giving wise principles concerning films, adapted to existing needs, he said this: "Here is a matter for which immediate provision is absolutely necessary: we must ensure that all progress made, by God's favour, both in human knowledge and in technical skill, shall in practice so serve God's glory, the salvation of souls and the extension of Christ's kingdom, that we all, as the Church bids us pray, may so pass through temporal goods that we may not lose what is eternal." 6

And We Ourselves, in the course of Our Supreme Pontificate, have often, when opportunity offered, dealt with this same question, giving appropriate directives not only to Bishops, but also to various branches of Catholic Action and to Christian educators. And, further, We have gladly admitted to Our presense those whose special profession it is to practise the art of the Motion Pictures or Radio or Television. To these, after We have made clear Our admiration for the notable progress they have achieved in those arts, We have pointed out the obligations by which each is bound; and at the same time, beside the great merit they have won, We set out the dangers into which they can easily fall, and the high ideals which ought to enlighten their minds and direct their wills.

We have also, as you know, taken steps to set up in the Roman Curia a special Commission,7 whose task it is to make careful study of the various questions connected with Motion Pictures, Radio and Television which touch on the Catholic Faith and Christian morals. From this Commission, Bishops and all other interested parties can expect to obtain appropriate directives.

Very often We Ourselves have made use of the modern remarkable inventions by which We can unite the worldwide flock with its Supreme Pastor, so that Our voice, passing in sure and safe flight over the expanse of sea and land and even over the troubled emotions of souls, may reach men's minds with a healing influence, in accordance with the demands of the task of the supreme apostolate, confided to Us and today extended almost without limit.8


We are not a little comforted since We know that the addresses on this subject, both Our own and those of Our late predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI, have had considerable influence in directing the arts of Motion Pictures, Radio and Television to the task of recalling men to the pursuit of the perfection of their individual souls, and thus, to the promotion of God's glory.

For, by your diligent and watchful care, Venerable Brethren, the initiative was given to works by which an apostolate on these lines was not only encouraged in individual dioceses and nations, but also embraced whole peoples by means of united efforts and plans.

Not a few statesmen as well as those who are engaged in the professions or in business, and most of those, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who attend shows of this kind, gave evidence of their sane thinking on this important matter; and, at the cost of trouble and even material loss, made efforts that not only the dangerous evils should be avoided, but that the sacred commandments of God should be obeyed and the dignity of the human person kept safe.

Yet We must, alas, repeat that sentence of the Apostle of the Gentiles: "Not all obey the Gospel";9for, in this matter, there are not wanting those who neither understand nor recognise the teaching function of the Church; some even oppose it by every possible means. They are, as you know, those who are moved by an inordinate desire for gain; or, deceived by errors, they do not have a balanced view on human dignity and freedom; or finally, they give full acceptance to a false opinion about the real meaning of art.

Though the manner of acting of these men fills Our mind with grief, yet We cannot fail in Our duty and turn aside from the right path; We hope that there will be said likewise of Us, those words which His enemies used of Our Divine Redeemer: "We know that thou art a true speaker, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man".10


Just as very great advantages can arise from the wonderful advances which have been made in our day, in technical knowledge concerning Motion Pictures, Radio and Television, so too can very great dangers.

For these new possessions and new instruments which are within almost everyone's grasp, introduce a most powerful influence into men's minds, both because they can flood them with light, raise them to nobility, adorn them with beauty, and because they can disfigure them by dimming their lustre, dishonour them by a process of corruption, and make them subject to uncontrolled passions, according as the subjects presented to the senses in these shows are praiseworthy or reprehensible.11

In the past century, advancing technical skill in the field of business frequently had this result: machines, which ought to serve men, when brought into use, rather reduced them to a state of slavery and caused grievous harm. Likewise today, unless the mounting development of technical skill, applied to the diffusion of pictures, sounds and ideas, is subjected to the sweet yoke of the law of Christ,12 it can be the source of countless evils, which appear to be all the more serious, because not only material forces but also the mind are unhappily enslaved, and man's inventions are, to that extent, deprived of those advantages which, in the design of God's Providence, ought to be their primary purpose.13

Consequently, since We, as a father, have daily pondered with ever greater anxiety, the essential nature of this problem and have considered the salutary benefits - so far as films are concerned - which have resulted during more than two decades from the Encyclical Letter Vigilanti cura, yielding to the petitions of the Bishops and those laymen who make a study of these arts, We wish by this letter to give directives and instructions with regard to both sound broadcasting and television.

Therefore, after We have made earnest prayer to God, and sought the help of His Virgin Mother, We address you, Venerable Brethren, whose wise pastoral care is well known to Us, with a view not only to setting forth clearly the Christian doctrine in this matter, but to undertaking suitable plans and initiatives. And so, with all the force at Our command, We desire to impress upon you how the flock, committed to the care of each one, should be protected against any errors and harm from whatever source, which the use of the arts under discussion can introduce - with serious risk - to the practices of Christian life. 



We are aware that each of these three arts of the Motion Pictures, Radio and Television, in fostering the development of mind and spirit, sets its own special problems to be solved in the field not only of the arts, but of technology and economics. But before We deal with the particular questions affecting each, We think it right to outline briefly the principles which concern the diffusion to the greatest possible extent, of the benefits which are destined both for human society in general and for individual citizens. 


Since God is the supreme Good, He at all times pours out His gifts on men who are objects of His special loving care. Of these gifts, some are to assist the material life on earth, but others concern the spirit; and, clearly, the former are subject to the latter in much the same way as the body should be subject to the soul with which, before God can communicate Himself by the beatific vision, He is united by faith and charity which "is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us".14

And further, since He longs to see in man the image of His own perfection, 15 He even wills him to be made a sharer in this supreme generosity, and has linked him with His own activity as the proclaimer of those good tidings, making him become their donor and dispenser to his brethren and to the whole human race. From the beginning of time, it has been man's natural and normal tendency to share with others the treasures of his mind by means of symbols whereby he daily tried to develop a more perfect means of expressing his material problems. Thus, from the drawings and inscriptions of the most ancient times down to the latest technical devices, all instruments of human communication inevitably have as their aim the lofty purpose of revealing men as in some way the assistants of God.

Hence, in order that the plan of God's Providence may be put more surely and fruitfully into effect, by virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We constituted, in an Apostolic Letter 16 "the Archangel Gabriel, who brought to the human race the long-desired news of man's Redemption, heavenly patron" of those arts by which men can employ electrical forces to transcribe words at very great speed to others at a distance, can hold converse from places widely apart, send messages by wireless, and view pictures of objects and events brought before them as if they were immediate spectators, though they are, in fact, far away.17 For, when We made choice of this heavenly patron, it was Our intention that all employed in these arts might fully understand the nobility of the task entrusted to them, for into their hands have been placed these useful instruments by which the priceless treasures of God may be spread among men like good seed which bring forth fruits of truth and goodness. 


For as We consider those honourable and lofty purposes to which this technical skill should be directed, the question presents itself: why do these same arts sometimes become the means, and, as it were, the paths leading to evil? "Whence then hath it cockle?"18

All evil, of course, which is opposed to right moral principles, cannot have its origin in God, Who is complete and absolute Good; nor does it come from the techniques themselves, which are His precious gifts. It can be only from the fact that man, endowed as he is with free will, can abuse those gifts, namely, by committing and multiplying evil, and thus associating himself with God's enemy, the prince of darkness: "An enemy hath done this".19 Consequently true human liberty demands that we use, and share with others, all these resources which can contribute to the strengthening and perfecting of our nature. 


But since the Church is the teacher of the doctrine which leads to salvation, and has all that is necessary for the attainment of holiness, She is exercising an inviolable right when She teaches what has been committed to Her by divine command. It ought to be the duty of all public officials to recognise this sacred right, with the result that She should be given ready access to those arts by which She may spread truth and virtue.

Indeed, all true and active sons of the Church, since they recognise the priceless gift of the Redemption, are bidden to ensure, to the extent of their power, that the Church may use these technical discoveries in so far as they may assist the sanctification of souls.

Yet when We assert and claim these rights for the Church, it is not Our desire to deny to the State the right of spreading by the same means, that news and those teachings which are really necessary or useful for the common good of human society.

And further, let it be permitted even to individual citizens - due regard being paid to actual circumstances and the safeguarding of principles which promote the common good - to contribute according to their capacity to the enriching and development of their own and others' intellectual and spiritual culture. 


Contrary, however, to Christian teaching and the principal end of these arts is the will and intention of those who desire to use these inventions exclusively for the advancement and propagation of political measures or to achieve economic ends, and who treat Our noble aim as if it were a mere business transaction.

In like manner, approval cannot be given to the false principles of those who assert and claim freedom to depict and propagate anything at all, even though there has been established beyond dispute in these past years both the kind and the extent of the damage to both bodies and souls which has had its source in these principles. There is no question here of the true liberty of which We have spoken above, but rather of an uncontrolled freedom, which disregards all precautions, of communicating with others anything at all, even though it be contrary to sound morals and can result in serious danger to souls.

The Church encourages and supports everything which truly concerns a fuller enrichment of the mind - for She is the patron and fostermother of human knowledge and the noble arts; therefore She cannot permit the violation of those principles and laws which direct and govern man in his path to God, his final end. Let no one, then, be surprised if, in this matter, where many reservations are necessary, the Church acts with due thought and discretion, according to that saying of the Apostle: "But prove all things: hold fast that which is good. From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves".20

Those, therefore, are certainly to be blamed who openly declare that public communication of matters which impede, or are directly opposed to, principles of morality, should be encouraged and carried out so long as the method is in accord with the laws of the liberal or technical arts. In a short discourse, on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the death of Fra Angelico, We recalled to the minds of Our hearers that "it is true that an explicitly moral or religious function is not demanded of art as art"; but "if artistic expression gives publicity to false, empty and confused forms, - those not in harmony with the Creator's design; if, rather than lifting mind and heart to noble sentiments, it stirs the baser passions, it might, perhaps, find welcome among some people, but only by nature of its novelty, a quality not always of value and with but slight content of that reality which is possessed by every type of human expression. But such an art would degrade itself, denying its primary and essential element: it would not be universal and perennial as is the human spirit to which it is addressed".21 


Beyond all doubt, public administrators are strictly bound to be watchful over these modern arts also: nor should they look on this matter from a merely political standpoint, but also from that of public morals, the sure foundation of which rests on the Natural Law, which, inspired testimony assures us, is written in our hearts.22

It cannot be asserted that this watchful care of the State's officials is an unfair limitation on the liberty of individual citizens, for it is concerned with, not the private citizen as such, but rather the whole of human society with whom these arts are being shared.

"We are well aware", as We have already said on another occasion, "that there is a widespread opinion among men of our time who are unreasonably intolerant of the intervention of public authority, that censorship is to be preferred which comes directly from the Industry itself";23 but though the persons professionally engaged in these arts can, in a praiseworthy manner, support the action of public officials and render ineffective the evils which can easily damage true morality, yet those rules and safeguards which issue from the former ought in no way to be opposed to the serious duty of the latter.

Hence, both Our late predecessor and We Ourselves readily praised those who, in accordance with the task committed to them in this sphere, published suitable safeguards and rules without in any way prejudicing what belongs to the competence of public authority. For We think that, then only can these new arts make their proper and natural contribution to the right fashioning of the minds of those who use them, if the Church, the State, and those engaged in these professions, pooling their resources in an orderly way, cooperate with each other to secure the desired end; if the opposite happens, i. e. if these arts, without set laws or any moral safeguards, embark on a downward and uninhibited path, they will certainly restrict the people's true development and weaken their morals. 


Among the various technical arts which transmit the ideas of men, those occupy a special place today, as We said, which communicate as widely as possible news of all kinds to ears and eyes by means of sounds and pictures.

This manner of spreading pictures and sounds, so far as the spirit is concerned, is supremely adapted to the nature of men, as Aquinas says: "But it is natural to man to come to things of the understanding through things of sense ; for all our knowledge has its origin in a sense".24 Indeed, the sense of sight, as being more noble and more honourable than other senses,25 more easily leads to a knowledge of spiritual things.

Therefore, the three chief technical methods of telecommunication, i. e. those of the Motion Pictures, Radio and Television, deal not only with men's recreation and leisure - though many who "listen-in" and view, seek this alone, - but especially with the propagation of those subjects which, while aiding both mental culture and spiritual growth, can powerfully contribute to the right training and shaping of the civil society of our times.

Much more easily than by printed books, these technical arts can assuredly provide opportunities for men to meet and unite in common effort; and, since this purpose is essentially connected with the advancement of the civilization of all peoples, the Catholic Church - which, by the charge committed to it, embraces the whole human race - desires to turn it to the extension and furthering of benefits worthy of the name.

Indeed, this should be the first aim of the arts of the Motion Pictures, Radio and Television: to serve truth and virtue. 


Let them be at the service of truth in such a way that the bonds between peoples may become yet closer; that they may have a more respectful understanding of each other; that they may assist each other in any crisis: that, finally, there may be real cooperative effort between the State officials and the individual citizens.

To be at the service of the truth demands not only that all refrain from error, from lies, from deceit of all kinds, but also that they shun everything that can encourage a manner of living and acting which is false, imperfect, or harmful to another party.

But above all, let the truths, handed down by God's revelation, be held sacred and inviolable. Rather, why should not these noble arts strive particularly to this end, that they spread the teaching of God and of His Son, Jesus Christ, "and instil into minds that Christian truth which alone can provide the strength from above to the mass of men, aided by which they may be able with calmness and courage, to overcome the crises and endure the severe trials of the age in which we now live?" 26

Moreover, these new arts should not only serve the truth, but also the perfecting of human life and morals. Let them make an active contribution to this in the three ways We are now going to write about: namely, in the news published, in the instruction imparted, in the shows presented. 


News of any event, even if nothing but the bare fact is related, has yet an aspect of its own which concerns morality in some way. "This aspect, affecting human morals, must never be neglected ; for news of any kind provokes a mental judgment and influences the will. The news-reader who worthily fulfils his task, should crush no one by his words, but try rather to understand and explain as best he can, the disasters reported and the crimes committed. To explain is not necessarily to excuse; but it is to suggest the beginning of a remedy, and consequently, to perform a task at once positive and constructive".27 


What We have just written has doubtless more force when it is a question of imparting instructions; documentary films, radio broadcasts, and television for schools provide ideas and open up new possibilities here, not only with regard to those who are still young, but also with regard to those of mature years. Yet every precaution must be taken that the instructions given are in no way contrary to the Church's teaching and its sacred rights, or impede or frustrate the proper duty of educating the young within the home circle.

Similarly, it is to be hoped that these new arts of publicity, whether exercised by private citizens or controlled by rulers of states, will not spread doctrines while suppressing all mention of God's name and taking no account of His divine law.

However, We are fully aware, alas, that in some nations amid which atheistic Communism is rampant, these methods of telecommunication are directed in the schools to root out all religious ideas from the mind. Indeed, anyone who considers this situation calmly and without prejudice, cannot fail to see that the consciences of children and youths, deprived of divine truth, are being oppressed in a new and subtle way, since they are unable to learn that truth revealed by God, which, as our Redeemer declared, makes us free;28 and that by this cunning method a new attack is being made on religion.

But We earnestly desire, Venerable Brethren, that these technical instruments, by which eyes and ears are easily and pleasantly attracted to events happening far away, should be employed to a particular end, namely, to provide men with a broader cultural background in the knowledge necessary for the fulfilment of their duties, and above all, in Christian principles. If these principles are neglected, there can be no progress worthy of the name, even in merely human matters.29 We desire, therefore, to pay due tribute of praise to all those who, whether by films or sound broadcasting or television shows, direct their efforts towards this most honourable goal. 


Further, it must be noted that, apart from the published news and the instructions delivered, these new arts can contribute considerably towards the true good of men by shows as well.

The progammes have generally something which has reference not only to entertaining men and giving them news, but also to the training of their minds. With complete justice, then, Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI, called the film theatres the "schools of events";30 for they can be called schools in this sense, that the dramatic plot is joined with scenes in which the vivid pictures which are portrayed by the moving light, are synchronised with sounds of voices and music in a most fascinating manner, with the result that they reach not only the intelligence and other faculties, but the whole man, and, in some way, link him to themselves, and seem to sweep him into a participation in the plot presented.

Although the arts of the Motion Pictures, Radio and Television include, in some fashion, various types of spectacle already long in use, yet each expresses a new product, and thus a new kind of spectacle which is aimed not at a few chosen spectators, but at vast throngs of men, who differ among themselves in age, way of life and culture. 


In order, then, that, in such conditions, shows of this kind may be able to pursue their proper object, it is essential that the minds and inclinations of the spectators be rightly trained and educated, so that they may not only understand the form proper to each of the arts, but also be guided, especially in this matter, by a right conscience. Thus they will be enabled to practise mature consideration and judgment on the various items which the film or television screen puts before them, and not, as very frequently happens, be lured and arbitrarily swept away by the power of their attraction.

If there is lacking this mental training and formation, enlightened by Christian teaching, then neither reasonable pleasures which "everyone readily admits are necessary for all who are involved in the business and troubles of life",31 nor the progress of mental development can be kept safe.

The sound policy of Catholics who have encouraged, especially in recent years, the need to educate the spectators in this way, is most praiseworthy; and several plans have been launched which aim at making both youths and grown-ups willing to examine adequately and competently the benefits and the dangers of these shows, and give a balanced decision on them. This, however, should not provide an excuse for attending shows which are contrary to right morals; rather, it ought to lead to pointing out and choosing those only which are in accord with the Church's commandments on the grounds of religion and of the moral law, and which follow the instructions issued by the ecclesiastical Offices in this matter.

Provided these plans, in accordance with Our hopes, correspond to pedagogical principles and right rules of mental development, We not only give them Our approval, but also heartily commend them ; and thus We desire them to be introduced into every type of school, Catholic Action groups, and parish societies.

Right training and education of the spectators in this fashion will ensure, on the one hand, a lessening of the dangers which can threaten harm to morals ; and, on the other hand, permit Christians, through the new knowledge they acquire, to raise their minds to a contemplation of heavenly truths.

While speaking on this point, We desire to praise in a particular manner those preachers of the divine word who make right use also of the means provided by Motion Pictures, Radio and Television to this end. They are aware that they are in duty bound to preserve the integrity of morals of those peoples to whom they minister and lead towards the path of truth ; and thus they share with them the genuinely salutary benefits and inventions which our times have introduced. We therefore desire that those who wield authority, either in Church or State, should in a special way support the activity and enterprise of these preachers. 


Yet it must be noticed that, in exercising control in this matter, the right training and education of the spectators, of which We have spoken, is not in itself sufficient. Each of the shows must be suited and adapted to the degree of intelligence of each age, the strength of their emotional and imaginative response, and the condition of their morals.

This, indeed, assumes a very great importance because sound radio and television shows, since they easily penetrate right into the domestic circle, threaten to undermine the protective barriers by which the education of the young must be kept safe and sound until such time as advancing age gives the necessary strength to enable them to overcome the buffetings of the world. For this reason, three years ago, We wrote thus to the Bishops of Italy: "Should we not shudder if we reflect attentively that by means of television shows, even within home surroundings all can inhale that poisoned air of "materialistic" doctrines which diffuse notions of empty pleasures and desires of all kinds, in the same way as they did over and over again in cinema halls?"32

We are aware of the initiatives which have been encouraged not only by public authorities but also by private groups who are engaged in the education of youth; We mean those undertakings and plans by which they make every possible effort to withdraw young people from those shows which are unsuited to their age, though they are too often being attended, with resulting serious harm. Whatever is being done in this praiseworthy cause, We heartily approve; yet it must be noticed that, even more than the physiological and psychological disturbances which can arise therefrom, those dangers must be guarded against which affect the morals of youth, and which, unless turned aside and forbidden in due season, can greatly contribute to the damage and overthrow of human society itself.

Concerning this matter, We make a father's appeal to the young so dear to Us, trusting that - since it is a question of entertainment in which their innocence can be exposed to danger - they will be outstanding for their Christian restraint and prudence. It is their grave obligation to check and control that natural and unrestrained eagerness to see and hear anything; and they must keep their mind free from immodest and earthly pleasures and direct it to higher things. 


Since the Church knows well that, from these new arts which directly affect the eye and ear, very many benefits as well as very many evils and dangers can arise, according as men make use of them, She desires to perform her duty in this matter also - in so far as it concerns directly, not culture in general, but religion in particular and the direction and control of morals.33

With a view to carrying out this task more fittingly and easily, Our predecessor of immortal memory, Pius XI, declared and proclaimed that "it is absolutely essential for Bishops to set up a permanent National Office of supervision whose business it would be to encourage decent films, but to give to others a recognised classification, and then to publish their judgment and make it known to priests and faithful";34 and that it was necessary, he added, that all Catholic initiative with regard to the Motion Pictures be directed to an honourable end.

In several countries, the Bishops, with these directives before their eyes, decided to set up Offices of this kind not only for matters connected with Motion Pictures, but also for Radio and Television.

As We consider, then, the spiritual advantages which can spring from these technical arts, together with the need to protect the integrity of Christian morals which such entertainments can easily endanger, We desire that, in every country, if the Offices referred to do not already exist, they be established without delay; these are to be entrusted to men skilled in the use of these arts, with some priest, chosen by the Bishops, as adviser.

Moreover, Venerable Brethren, We urge that in each country, these Offices dealing with Motion Pictures, or Radio or Television should depend on one and the same Committee, or at least, act in close cooperation. At the same time, We urge the faithful, particularly those who are vigorous members of Catholic Action, to be suitably instructed so that they may perceive the need to give willingly to these Offices their united and effective support.

And since there are a number of questions on this subject not capable of easy explanation and solution in individual countries, it will certainly be very useful if the National Offices of each
country unite into an International Association to which this Holy See, after due consideration, will be able to give approval.

We have no doubt, Venerable Brethren, that you will produce fruitful and salutary results from what you will do, at some cost in toil and inconvenience, to obey these directives. But the result will be more easily and aptly attained if the particular rules, which We are going to set out in the course of this Encyclical Letter with regard to the Motion Pictures, Radio and Television separately considered, are carefully put into practice. 


Motion Pictures, which came into existence some sixty years ago, must today be numbered among the most important means by which the ideas and discoveries of our times can be made known. Concerning their various processes and their power of attraction, We have, when occasion offered, already spoken.35 Out of this growth, particularly in the case of films which reproduce a definite story expressed in a vivid manner by pictures and sounds, there has also sprung up a great industry in which not only craftsmen, labourers and technicians, but also financial groups unite their activities; for private individuals cannot easily carry through such an extensive and complex operation. Hence, in order that the cinema may remain a worthy instrument by which men can be guided towards salvation, raised to higher things, and become really better,36 it is absolutely necessary for each of those groups just referred to, exercising a true sense of responsibility, to cooperate readily with each other to produce and distribute films which can win approval.

To all those who practise vigilance and act intelligently concerning film shows, We have already more than once made clear the seriousness of the subject, while exhorting them to produce, in particular, the kind of "ideal film" which can certainly contribute to a well balanced education.37

Do you, Venerable Brethren, take a special interest in seeing that, through the individual National Offices, which must be subject to your authority, and about which We have written above, there shall be imparted to the various classes of interested citizens information on the matters to be viewed, - the advice and the directives by which, in accordance with the different times and circumstances, this most noble art, which can so much help the good of souls, may be as far as possible advanced. 


For this purpose, "let tables or lists be composed and printed in a definite arrangement, in which films distributed will, as frequently as possible, be listed so as to come to the notice of all";38 and let this be done by a Committee of reliable men, which will depend on each of your National Offices. These men, of course, should be outstanding for their doctrine and practical prudence since they have to pass judgment on each film according to the rules of Christian morality.

We most earnestly exhort the members of this Committee to devote in a suitable manner to these topics, deep and prolonged study and devout prayer; for they have to deal with a most important matter which is closely bound up with the Christian concept of life, and consequently,they must have a sound knowledge of that power which is exerted by the cinema, and which varies according to the different circumstances of the spectators.

As often as they have to judge the moral aspect of a cinema programme, they should attentively revise within themselves those directives already many times given by Us, as occasion offered; and particularly when We spoke of the "ideal film", of the points which concern religion, and at the same time of representation of evil deeds: it should never ignore or be opposed to human dignity, to the modesty of the home surroundings, to holiness of life, to the Church of Jesus Christ, to human and civil types of association.

Moreover, let them remember that the task allowed to them of classifying and passing judgment on each film programme, aims especially at giving clear and appropriate guidance to public opinion, with the intention of leading all to value highly the rules and principles of morality, without which the right development of minds and true civilization become meaningless terms. Unquestionably, therefore, one must repudiate the manner of acting of those who, from excessive indulgence, admit films which, for all their technical brilliance, nevertheless offend right morals; or, though they appear on the surface to conform to the moral laws, yet contain something which is contrary to the Catholic Faith.

But if they have clearly and publicly indicated which films can be seen by all, by the young, by adults; and those, on the other hand, which are a moral danger to the spectators; and finally, those which are entirely bad and harmful, then each will be able to attend those films only, from which "they will come out with minds happier, freer and better";39 and they will be able to avoid those which can be harmful to them, and doubly so, of course, when they will have been a means of gain for traffickers in evil things, and given bad example to others.

Repeating the timely instructions which Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI, published in his Encyclical Letter, entitled Vigilanti Cura,40 We earnestly desire that Christians be not only warned with care, as frequently as possible, on this topic, but that they fulfil the grave obligation of acquainting themselves with the decisions issued by Ecclesiastical Authority on matters connected with Motion Pictures, and of faithfully obeying them. The Bishops, if they deem it appropriate, will be able to set aside a special day each year devoted to this matter, on which the faithful will be carefully instructed concerning their duty, particularly with regard to Film shows, and urged to offer earnest prayers to God about the same.

To make it easy for all to be familiar with these decisions and to obey them, these directives, together with a short commentary on them, must be published at some suitable time, and distributed as widely as possible. 


To this end, Catholic Film critics can have much influence; they ought to set the moral issue of the plots in its proper light, defending those judgments which will act as a safeguard against falling into so-called "relative morality", or the overthrow of that right order in which the lesser issues yield place to the more important.

Quite wrong, therefore, is the action of writers in daily papers and in reviews, claiming to be Catholic, if, when dealing with shows of this kind, they do not instruct their readers concerning the moral position to be adopted. 


There is a duty of conscience binding the spectators who, each time they buy a ticket of admission, - as it were casting a vote - make choice of good or bad motion pictures; a similar duty, and even more so, binds those who manage movie theatres or distribute the films.

We are well aware of the magnitude of the difficulties which today confront those engaged in the Motion Picture industry because of - in addition to other considerations - the great increase in the use of television. Yet, even when confronted by these difficult circumstances, they must remember that they are forbidden in conscience to present film programmes which are contrary to the Faith and sound morals, or to enter into contracts by which they are forced to present shows of this kind. But since in many countries, men engaged in this industry have bound themselves not to exhibit, for any consideration, film programmes which might be harmful or evil, We trust that the excellent initiative will spread to all parts of the world, and that no catholic in cinema management will hesitate to follow such sane and salutary proposals.

We must also utter a vigorous warning against the display of commercial posters which ensnare or give scandal, even though, as sometimes happens, such publicity refers to decent films. "Who can say what harm is wrought in minds, especially of the young, by these pictures, what base thoughts and impure pleasures are aroused, how much they contribute to the corruption of public morals with consequent damage to the well-being of the State itself?" 41 


Consequently, in cinema halls subject to ecclesiastical authority, since there have to be provided for the faithful, and particularly for the young, shows which are suitable to upright training and in keeping with the surroundings, it is clear that only those films may be exhibited which are entirely beyond reproach.

Let the Bishops, keeping a watchful eye on these halls, - including those of exempt religious, - to which the public has access, warn all ecclesiastics on whom the responsibility falls, to observe faithfully and exactly the rules laid down in these matters, and let them not be too much taken up with their personal advantage if they wish to play their part in this ministry which the Holy See considers of the highest importance. We especially advise those who control these Catholic halls, to group themselves together - as, with Our full approval and consent, has been done in a number of places - the more effectively to put into practice the recommendations of the respective National Offices, and support common advantages and policies. 


The counsel which We have given to theatre managers We wish to apply also to the distributors who, since they sometimes contribute financially to the making of the actual films, have obviously a greater opportunity and, consequently, are bound by a more serious obligation, of giving their support to reputable films. For distribution cannot be in any sense reckoned as a technical function of the business, since films - as We have often stated - are not only to be regarded as articles for sale, but also, and this is more important, to be considered as food for the mind and, as it were, a means of spiritual and moral training for the ordinary people. So distributors and hirers share to the same degree in merit and responsibility according as something good or evil results from the screen. 


Since, therefore, there is question of bringing the Motion Picture industry into line with sounder policies, that is no slight responsibility which rests on the actors; they, indeed, remembering their dignity as human beings and as experienced artists, should know that they are not permitted to lend their talents to parts in plays, or to be connected with the making of films, which are contrary to sound morals. But an actor, having gained a famous name by his talent and skill, ought to use that renown which he has justly won in such a way that he inspires the mind of the public with noble sentiments; in particular, he should remember to give a notable example of virtue to others in his private life. When addressing professional actors on one occasion in the past, We made this assertion: "Everyone can see that, in the presence of a throng of people listening open-mouthed to your words, appauding and shouting, your own feelings are stirred and filled with a certain joy and exaltation".42But if it can be said that someone is fully justified in feeling these emotions, yet it does not follow that Christian actors may accept from their audience expressions of praise which savour of a type of idolatry, since, in this case also, Our Saviour's words apply: "So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven".43 


But the heaviest responsibility - though for a different reason - falls on the directors and producers. The awareness of this burden is not an obstacle to noble undertakings, but rather ought to strengthen the minds of those who, endowed with good will, are influential by reason of their money or natural talent in the production of films. In addition, it often happens that film producers and directors meet a serious difficulty when the circumstances and demands of their art come into contact with the precepts of religion and the moral law. In that case, before the film is printed, or while it is being produced, some competent advice should be sought and a sound plan adopted to provide for both the spiritual good of the spectators and the perfection of the work itself. Let these men not hesitate to consult the local established Catholic Motion Pictures Office, which will readily come to their assistance by delegating some qualified ecclesiastical adviser to look after the business, should this be necessary, and so long as due precautions are observed.

And the result of this confidence which they place in the Church, will not be a lessening of their authority or popularity; "for the Faith, until the end of time, will be the bulwark of the human person"44 and in the production of the works themselves, the human person will be enriched and perfected in the light of Christian teaching and correct moral principles.

Nevertheless, ecclesiastics are not permitted to offer their cooperation to film directors without the express consent of their superiors, since, obviously, to give sound advice in this matter, special excellence in the art and a more than ordinary training are essential, and a decision on these cannot be left to the whim of individuals.

We therefore give a fatherly warning to Catholic film directors and producers, not to permit films to be made which are opposed to the Faith or Christian morals; but if, - which God forbid - this should happen, it is the duty of the Bishops to admonish them, and, if necessary, to impose appropriate sanctions.

But We are convinced that, to bring the Motion Pictures to the heights of the "ideal film", nothing is more effective than for those engaged in film production to act in conformity with the commandments of Christian law.

Let those responsible for making films approach the sources from which all the highest gifts flow, let them master the Gospel teaching, and make themselves familiar with the Church's traditional doctrine on the certainties of life, on happiness and virtue, on sorrow and sin, on body and soul, on social problems and human desires; they will then obtain new and excellent plots which they may adopt, and they will feel themselves inspired by a fresh enthusiasm to produce works of lasting value.

Those initiatives and practices, therefore, must be encouraged and extended by which their spiritual life is nourished, and given strength and development; but particular attention must here be paid to the christian training of those young people who are planning to enter the cinema world professionally.

To conclude these instructions with regard to the Motion Pictures, We urge State officials not on any account to lend support to the production or making available of films of a low type, but, by establishing suitable regulations, to lend their aid to the providing of decent film programmes which can be commended, particularly when they are intended for youth. When such large sums are being spent on public education, let them direct their attention to this also: that reasonable assistance be given to this matter, which is essentially a part of education.

But since in certain countries, and also in international festivals, prizes are established and rightly awarded to those films which are recommended for their educative and spiritual value, We trust that all good and prudent men, following Our counsels, will strive to ensure that the applause and approval of the general public will not be wanting, as a prize for really worthwhile films. 


No less carefully do We desire to express to you, Venerable Brethren, the anxiety which besets Us with regard to that other means of communication which was introduced at the same period as the cinema: We refer to Radio.

Though it is not endowed to anything like the same extent with scenic properties and other advantages of time and place, as is the cinema industry, sound radio has yet other advantages, not all of which have yet been exploited.

For, as We said to the members and directors of a broadcasting company, "this method of comunication is such that it is, as it were, detached from and unrestricted by conditions of place and time which block or delay all other methods of communication between men. On a kind of winged flight much swifter than sound waves, with the speed of light, it passes in a moment over all frontiers, and delivers the news committed to it".45

Brought to almost complete perfection by new inventions, wireless telegraphy brings oustanding advantages to technical processes, since, by means of a ray, pilotless machines may be directed to a determined place. But We rightly think that the most excellent function which falls to Radio is this: to enlighten and instruct men, and to direct their minds and hearts towards higher and spiritual things.

But there is in men, though they may be within their own homes, a deep desire to listen to other men, to obtain knowledge of events happening far away, and to share in aspects of the social and cultural life of others.

Hence it is not remarkable that a very large number of houses have, within a short period of time, been equipped with receiving sets, by which, as it were through secret windows opening on to the world, contact is made night and day with the active life of men of different civilizations, languages and races. This is brought about by the countless wireless programmes which cover news, interviews, talks, and items conveying useful and pleasant information derived from public events, the arts, singing, and orchestral music.

For as We said recently, "how great is the advantage enjoyed, how great the responsibility laid on men of the present day, and how great the changes from times gone by when instruction in truth, commandments of brotherly love, promises of everlasting happiness, came slowly to men through the Apostles, treading the rough paths of that former age; whereas, in our day, the divine message can be conveyed to tens and hundreds of thousands of men at one and the some time".46

It befits Catholics, then, to make use of this privilege of our day, and to draw extensively from the rich fund of doctrine, recreation, art and also of the divine Word, which sound broadcasting brings to them, since they can thus increase and widen their range of interests.

Everyone knows what a great contribution good radio programmes can make to sound education; yet from the use of this instrument there arises an obligation in conscience as in the other technical arts, since it can be employed to achieve good or evil. Those words, then, written in Scripture, can be applied to the art of Radio: "By it we bless God and the Father ; and by it we curse men, who are made after the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing".47 


The first duty of the radio listener is that of choosing carefully and deliberately from the programmes offered; these must not be permitted to enter the home indiscriminately, but access should be given them on the same principles as are observed in a deliberate and prudent invitation to a friend. A person would act wrongly if he made no selection in introducing friends into his home. So radio programmes which are given entrance there, must be such as encourage truth and goodness, and do not draw members of the family away from the fulfilment of their duty, whether to individuals or to society; they should be such as strengthen them to carry out these duties properly, and, in the case of children and youths, cause no harm, but rather assist and extend the salutary control of parents and teachers.

Let the Catholic Offices for Radio set up in each country, making use of Catholic daily papers and reviews, endeavour to inform the faithful beforehand on the nature and value of the programmes. It will not always be possible to give such advance notice; and often, these will only be summary views, where the content of the programme cannot be known easily beforehand.

Parish priests should warn their flocks that they are forbidden by divine law to listen to radio programmes which are dangerous to their Faith or morals, and they should exhort those engaged in the training of youth, to be on the watch and to instill religious principles with regard to the use of radio sets installed in the home.

Moreover, it is the duty of the Bishops to call on the faithful to refrain from listening to stations which are known to broadcast a defence of matter formally opposed to the Catholic Faith.

Another duty which binds listeners, is to make known to the directors of the programmes their wishes and justifiable criticism. This obligation arises clearly from the nature of sound radio, which is such that a wholly one-sided policy may come into existence, namely, that directed by the speaker to the listener. Although those systems of surveying public opinion, which are increasing in these days, to find out the degree of interest aroused in the listeners by each programme, are doubtless useful to those who direct the programmes, yet it can happen that popular appreciation, more or less vigorously expressed, can be attributed to trivial or transient causes, or to enthusiasms with no rational basis, so that a judgment of this kind cannot be taken as a sure guide for action.

That being the case, radio listeners ought to rouse themselves to obtain a well-balanced opinion among the general public, by which, while observing proper methods, these programmes are - according to their merits - approved, supported, rebuked, thus bringing it about that the art of Radio, considered as a method of education, "may serve the truth, good morals, justice and love".48

To bring about this effect is the task of all Catholic societies which are zealous for securing the good of Christians in this matter. But in those countries where local circumstances suggest it, groups of listeners or viewers can be organized for this purpose, under the supervision of the National Motion Pictures, Radio and Television Offices established in each country.

Finally, let listeners to the Radio be aware that they are obliged to encourage reputable programmes, and particularly those by which the mind is directed towards God. In this age in particular, when false and pernicious doctrines are being spread over the air, when, by deliberate "jamming", a kind of aerial "iron curtain" is being created with the express purpose of preventing the entry of truth which would overthrow the empire of atheistic materialism, in this age, We say, when hundreds of thousands of the human race are still looking for the dawning light of the Gospel message, when the sick and others likewise handicapped look forward anxiously to taking part in some manner in the prayers and the ceremonies of the Mass of the Christian community, should not the faithful, especially those who make daily use of the advantages of the Radio, show themselves eager to encourage programmes of this kind? 


We are fully aware of the effort already made in some countries, and now being made, to increase the Catholic programmes from Radio stations. Many, from among both clergy and laity, have been in the front of the fight, and by vigorous exertions, have secured for religious radio programmes a place befitting divine worship, which is more important than all human affairs taken together.

But in the meantime, while We ponder to what extent Radio can assist the work of the sacred ministry, and while We are moved strongly by the command of our Divine Redeemer, "Going into the whole world, preach the Gospel to every creature", 49 We feel We must exhort you paternally, Venerable Brethren, to strive - according to the need and resources of your respective localities - to increase in number and make more effective programmes dealing with Catholic affairs.

Since a properly dignified presentation of liturgical ceremonies, of the truths of the Catholic Faith, and of events connected with the Church, by means of Radio, obviously demands considerable talent and skill, it is essential that both priests and laymen who are selected for so important an activity should be well trained in suitable methods.

This end would clearly be assisted if, in countries where Catholics employ the latest radio equipment and have day-to-day experience, appropriate study and training courses could be arranged, by means of which learners from other countries also could acquire that skill which is indispensable if radio religious programmes are to attain the best artistic and technical standards.

It will be the function of the National Offices to encourage the various types of religious programmes within their territory and to organize and coordinate them with each other; they will, in addition, offer their cooperation, as far as possible, to the directors of the other Radio stations, due care being observed that nothing creeps into these transmissions contrary to sound morals.

With regard to ecclesiastics, including exempt religious, who are engaged in Radio or Television stations, it will be the Bishops' duty to impart suitable directives, the carrying out of which will be committed to the various National Offices. 


We should like particularly to speak words of encouragement to Catholic radio stations. We are fully aware of the almost countless difficulties which have to be faced in this sphere; yet We trust that this apostolic work which We value so highly, will be pursued by them with energy and with mutual collaboration.

For Our part, We have arranged for the extension and perfecting of the Vatican Radio Station which has done excellent work for the Church, the salutary activity of which, as We declared to the Catholics of Holland who contributed to it so generously, has well responded to "the ardent desires and the vital needs of the whole Catholic world".50 


Moreover, We desire to extend Our thanks to all upright directors and producers of radio programmes for their fair assessment of the needs of the Church to which many of them have borne testimony, either by freely assigning a suitable time for the propagation of God's Word, or by supplying the necessary equipment. By this way of acting, they are certainly sharing in the special reward of apostolic work, even though it is being carried out over the air, according to Our Lord's promise: "Who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet, will receive the reward of a prophet".51

In these days, technical excellence in radio programmes requires that they be in conformity to the true principles of the art; hence their authors and those engaged in preparing and producing them must be equipped with sound doctrine and a well-stored mind. Consequently, We earnestly invite them also, as We did the members of the Motion Picture industry, to make full use of that superabundance of material from the storehouse of Christian civilization. Finally, let the bishops remind State officials that it is part of their duty to exercise appropriate diligence in safeguarding the transmission of programmes relating to the Catholic Church, and that special consideration should be given to holy days and to the daily spiritual needs of Christians. 


It remains, Venerable Brethren, to speak briefly to you about Television, which, in the course of Our Pontificate, has in some nations taken tremendous steps forward, and in others is gradually coming into use.

The ever growing development of this art, which beyond all doubt is an event of great importance in human history, has been followed by Us with lively interest and high hopes, but also with serious anxiety; and while on the one hand, We have, from the beginning, praised its potentialities for good and the new advantages springing therefrom, We have also, on the other hand, foreseen and pointed out the dangers, and the excesses of those who misuse it.

There are many characteristics common to both Television and Motion Pictures, for in both, pictures of the movement and the excitement of life are presented to the eye ; often, too, Television material is derived from existing films. Moreover, Television shares, in a sense, in the nature and special power of sound broadcasting, for it is directed towards men in their own homes rather than in theatres.

We consider it superfluous in this place to repeat the warnings with regard to film and radio programmes, which We have already given concerning the obligations binding, in this matter, on spectators, listeners, producers and State officials.

Nor need We again refer to the care and diligence which must be observed in the correct preparation and encouragement of the different types of religious programmes. 


It is well known to Us with what deep interest vast numbers of spectators gaze at television programmes of Catholic events. It is obvious, of course, - as We declared a few years ago 52 - that to be present at Mass portrayed by Television is not the same as being actually present at the Divine Sacrifice, as is of obligation on holy days. However, from religious ceremonies, as seen on Television, valuable fruits for the strengthening of the Faith and the renewal of fervour can be obtained by all those who, for some reason, are unable to be actually present; consequently, We are convinced that We may wholeheartedly commend programmes of this kind.

In each country, it will be for the Bishops to judge of the suitability of televised religious programmes, and commit their execution to the established Office, which, of course, as in similar matters, will be active and alert to publish information, to instruct the minds of the audience, and to organize and coordinate exerything in a manner in keeping with Christian morals. 


But Television, besides the common element which it shares with the other two inventions for spreading information, of which We have already spoken, has a power and efficacy of its own. For, by the art of Television, it is possible for the spectators to grasp by the eye and the ear, events happening far away at the very moment at which they are taking place, and thus to be drawn on, as it were, to take an active part in them; and this sense of immediacy is increased very much by the home surroundings.

This special power which Television enjoys, of giving pleasure within the family circle, is to be reckoned of very great importance, since it can contribute a great deal to the religious life, the intellectual development and the habits of those who make up the family; of the sons, especially, whom the more modern invention will certainly influence and captivate. But if that saying, "a little leaven corrupteth the whole mass"53 corresponds at all to the truth, and if physical growth in youths can be prevented, by some infectious germ, from reaching full maturity, much more can some base element of education steal its way into the fibres of the religious life, and check the due shaping of morals. Everyone knows well that, very often, children can avoid the transient attack of a disease outside their own home, but cannot escape it when it lurks within the home itself.

It is wrong to introduce risk in any form into the sanctity of home surroundings; the Church, therefore, as her right and duty demand, has always striven with all her force to prevent these sacred portals suffering violence, under any pretext, from evil television shows.

Since Television certainly has this among other advantages, that both old and young can easily remain at home, it can have considerable influence in strengthening the bonds of loyalty and love within the family circle, provided the screen displays nothing which is contrary to those same virtues of loyalty and chaste love.

There are, however, some who completely deny that, at least at the present time, these lofty demands can be put into practice. For they repeatedly assert that the contract made with the spectators in no way permits any part of the time allotted to television to be left unoccupied; further, that they are forced by the necessity of always having a variety of progammes ready to hand, to put on shows sometimes which were originally intended only for the public theatre; and finally, that television is an affair not just for the young but for grown-ups as well. We admit that in this matter difficulties readily occur; nevertheless, their solution should not be postponed to some future date, for the practice of this art, hitherto not controlled by the reins of prudent counsel, has already inflicted serious harm on individuals and on human society; the extent of this damage up to the present time can be gauged only with difficulty.

But in order that the unravelling of these difficulties may advance side by side with the increasing use of Television in each country, the most urgent efforts should be devoted to the preparation of the different shows, ensuring that they correspond to ethical and psychological requirements as well as to the technical aspects of Television.

For this reason We paternally exhort Catholics, well-qualified by their learning, sound doctrine and knowledge of the arts, - and in particular clerics, and members of Religious Orders and Congregations - to turn their attention to this new art and give their active cooperation, so that whatever benefits the past and true progress have contributed to the mind's development, may be also employed in full measure to the advantage of Television.

In addition, it is essential that producers of television films take care not only to preserve intact religious and honourable principles, but also to be on special guard against the danger which the young may perhaps fall into, if they are present at shows intended for grown-ups. With regard to similar performances which are put on in cinemas and theatres, in order to preserve the common good, appropriate precautions have been deliberately taken in almost all civilized countries, with the object of keeping young people away from immoral entertainments. But it is common knowledge that television - and with greater reason - needs the benefits and safeguards of alert vigilance. It is praiseworthy that, in some countries, items forbidden to the young are excluded from the television programmes; but if it happens that certain places admit such, then, at least, definite precautions are absolutely essential.

It is useless for anyone to suppose that excellent principles and an upright conscience on the part of those engaged in these arts are sufficient either to ensure that nothing but good flows from the small white screen, or to remove all that is evil. In this matter, then, prudence and watchful care are especially demanded of those who make use of television. Due moderation in its use, prudence in admitting the children to viewing according to their different ages, a balanced judgment based on what has been seen before, and finally, exclusion of children from what are in any sense improper spectacles: all these are the duties which weigh heavily on parents and on all engaged in education.

We do not overlook the fact that the directives We have just given in the last section, can sometimes produce serious difficulties and considerable inconveniences; for the awareness of their role as educators will often demand that parents give clear example to their offspring, and also bid them deny themselves - not without some personal sacrifice - some programmes they would like to see. But who thinks the burden on parents is too heavy when the supreme good of the children is at stake?

This being so, - as We declared in a letter to the Italian Bishops - "it is a most pressing need that the conscience of Catholics with regard to television should be formed by the sound principles of the Christian religion";54 the more so, in order that this kind of art may not be at the service of error or the squares of vice, but may prove to be rather a help" to educate and train men, and recall them to their higher state".55



We cannot conclude this Letter, Venerable Brethren, without recalling to your mind the importance of the function committed to the priest for encouraging and mastering the inventions which affect communication, not only in other spheres of the apostolate, but especially in this essential work of the Church.

He ought to have a sound knowledge of all questions which confront the souls of Christians with regard to Motion Pictures, Radio and Television. As We said in a discourse to those taking part in a Study Week for the bringing up to date of pastoral practice in Italy at the present time, "The priest with `the care of souls' can and must know what modern science, art and technique assert whenever they touch on the end of man and his moral and religious life".56 Let him learn to use these aids correctly as often as, in the prudent judgment of ecclesiastical authority, the nature of the ministry entrusted to him and the need of assisting an increasing number of souls demand it. Finally, if these arts are employed by the priest to advantage, his prudence, self-control and sense of responsibility will shine out as an example to all Christians. 


We decided to lay before you, Venerable Brethren, Our thoughts and anxieties, which you, of course, also share, concerning the grave dangers which can beset Christian Faith and morals if the powerful inventions of Motion Pictures, Radio and Television are perverted by men to evil uses.

We have not, however, passed over the benefits and advantages which these modern instruments can bring. To this end, with the precepts of the Christian Faith and Natural Law to enlighten Us, We have explained the principles which must guide and regulate both the action of the directors of the means of publicity, and the conscience of those who use them. And for the same reason, namely, that the gifts of Divine Providence may secure the good of souls, We have paternally exhorted you not only to exercise a watchful care, but also to use positive action and authority. For it is the function of those National Offices, which on this occasion also We have commended to you, not only to preserve and defend, but, more especially, to direct, organize and assist the many educational projects which have been begun in many countries, so that by means of this difficult and extensive province of the arts, the christian ideas may be ever more widely spread.

But since We have firm confidence in the ultimate triumph of God's cause, We do not doubt that these precepts and instructions of Ours - which We entrust for due execution to the Pontifical Commission for Motion Pictures, Radio and Television - can rouse new enthusiasm for the apostolate in this sphere, which promises such a plenteous and fruitful harvest.

Relying on this hope, which Our well-founded knowledge of your pastoral zeal very much strengthens, We impart with all Our heart, as a pledge of heavenly graces, the Apostolic Benediction on you, Venerable Brethren, as well as on the clergy and people committed to your care and in particular on those who work actively to bring our desires and instructions to fulfilment.

From St Peter's, Rome, the eighth day of September, the feast of Our Lady's Nativity 1957, the nineteenth year of Our Pontificate. 




S. IOAN.   CHRYS., De consubstantiali, contra Anomoeos:   P.G., 48, 810.


Ephes. III,8-9


I Petr. I, 18-19.


Radiophonicum   nuntium Qui arcano,   d. 12 Februarii, a. 1931: A. A. S., vol. XXIII, 1931, pag. 65.


Epist.   Enc. Vigilanti cura,   d. 29 Iunii, a. 1936: A. A. S., vol. XXVIII, 1936, pag. 249 sq.


Ibid. pag. 251.


Cfr. A. A. S., d. 16 Decembris, a. 1954, vol. XLVI, 1964, pag. 783-784.


Cfr. Sermo   ad catholicos Hollandiae, d. 19 Maii, a. 1950 habitus: Discorsi   e Radiomessaggi di S. S. Pio XII, vol. XII, pag. 75.


Rom. X, 16.


Matth.   XXII, 16.


Cfr. Sermo   ad cultores cinematographicae artis ex Italia Romae congregatos, d. 21 Iunii,   a. 1955: A. A S., vol. XLVII, 1955, pag 504.


Cfr.   Matth., XI, 30.


Cfr. Sermo   ad radiophonicae artis cultorum coetum, d. 5 Maii, a. 1950 ex omnibus Nationibus   Romae habitum: Discorsi   e Radiomessaggi di S. S.   Pio XII, vol. XII, pag. 54.


Rom. V, 5.


Cfr.   Matth. V, 48.


Litt.   Apost. d. 12 Ianuarii, a. 1951: A. A. S., vol XLV, 1952, pag. 216-217.


Ibid. pag. 216.


Matth.   XIII, 27.


Matth.   XIII, 28.


I Thess. V, 21-22.


Cfr.   Sermo, quinto exeunte saeculo ab Angelici obitu, in Aedibus Vaticanis habitus   d. 20 Aprilis, a. 1955: A. A. S., vol. XLVII, 1955, pag. 291-292; Litt. Enc. Musicae Sacrae, d. 25   Decembris, a 1955: A. A. S., vol. XLVIII, 1956, pag. 10.


Cfr. Rom.   11, 15.


Sermo ad   cultores artis cinematographicae ex Italia Romae congregatos, d. 21 Iunii, a.   l955: A. A. S., vol. XLVII, 1955, pag. 505.


S. THOM., Summ.   Theol., I. q. 1, a. 9.


Cfr. Ibid. I, q. 67, a. 1.


Sermo ad   sodales Radiophonicae Societatis Italiae, d. 3 Decembris, a. 1944 habitus: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi di S. S. Pio Xll, vol. VI, pag. 209.


Sermo ad   Nationum Societatis Consilium publicis ordinandis nuntiis, d. 24 Aprilis, a.   1956 habitus: Discorsi   e Radiomessaggi di S. S.   Pio Xll, vol. XVIII, pag. 137.


Cfr. Ioan.   VIII, 32


Cfr. Nuntius radiophonicus ad christifideles   Columbianae Reipublicae, d. 11 Aprilis, a. 1953 habitus, cum Statio   Radiophonica Sutacentiae inaugurabatur: A. A. S., vol. XLV, 1953, pag. 294.


Ep Enc. Vigilanti cura, d. 29   Iunii, a. 1936: A. A. S., vol. XXVIII, 1936, pag. 255.


Ep. Enc. Vigilanti cura: ibid.   pag. 254.


Cfr.   Adhortatio de televisione, d. 1 Ianuarii, a. 1954: A. A. S., vol. XLIV, a.   1964, pag. 21.


Cfr. Sermo   ad moderatores, docentes, et cultores Consociationis ex omnibus Nationibus   Institutorum Archaeologiae, Historiae, et Artis Historiae, d. 9 Martii, a.   1956, habita: A. A. S., vol XLVIII, 1966, pag. 212.


Ep. Enc. Vigilanti cura, d. 29   Iunii, a. 1936: A. A. S., vol. XXVIII, 1936, pag. 261.


Cfr. Sermo   ad cinematographicae artis cultores ex Italia Romae congregatos, d. 21 Iunii,   a. 1955, A. A. S., vol. XLVII, 1955, pag. 501-502.


Cfr. Sermo   ad cinematographicae artis cultores, d. 28 Octobris, a. 1955, Romae   congregatos: A. A. S., vol. XLVII, 1955, pag. 817.


Cfr. Sermones d. 21 Iunii et 28 Octobris, a. 1955   habiti: ibid.,   pag. 502, 505 et 816 sq.


Ep. Enc. Vigilanti cura, d. 29   Iunii, a. 1936: A. A. S., vol. XXVIII, 1936, pag. 260-261.


Cfr. Sermo   ad cultores cinematographicae artis ex Italia Romae congregatos, d. 21 Iunii,   a. 1955: A. A. S., vol. XLVII, 1955, pag. 512.


Ep. Enc. Vigilanti cura, d. 29   Iunii a. l936: A. A. S., vol. XXVIII, 1936, pag. 260.


Cfr. Pii   XII sermo ad Urbis Parochos sacrosque per Quadragesimae tempus Oratores die 5   Martii 1957 habitus: vide diarium L'Osservatore Romano, 6   Martii 1957.


Cfr. Sermo   de arte scaenica d. 26 Augusti, a. 1945 habitus: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi di   S. S. Pio XII, vol. VII, pag. 157.


Matth. V,   16.


Cfr.   Epist. Pii XII ad christifideles Germaniae, ob conventum a   "Katholikentag" appellatum, Berolinum congregatos die 10 Augusti,   a. 1952: A. A. S., vol. XLIV, 1952, pag. 725.


Cfr. Sermo   d. 3 Decembris, a. 1944 habitus: Discorsi   e Radiomessaggi di S. S.   Pio XII, vol. VI, pag. 209.


Cfr.   Nuntius radiophonicus ad eos qui interfuerunt tertio generali conventui de   communicationibus inter cives et nationes, sexagesimo volvente anno a   radiotelegraphia inventa, Genuae habito: A. A. S. vol. XLVII, 1955, pag.736.


Iac. III,   9-10.


Cfr. Sermo   Pii XII d. 3 Octobris, a. 1917 quinquagesimo expleto anno ab arte   radiophonica inventa habitus: Discorsi   e Radiomessaggi di S. S. Pio XII,   vol. IX, pag. 267.


Marc. XVI,   l5


Cfr. Sermo   ad Hollandiae catholicos, d. 19 Maii, a. 195O habitus: Discorsi e Radiomessaggi di S. S. Pio XII,   vol. XII, pag. 75.


Matth. X,   41.


Cfr. Sermo   ad radiophonicae artis cultores conventum ex omnibus Nationibus   participantes: d. 5 Maii, a. 1950; Discorsi   e Radiomessaggi di S S. Pio XII,   vol. XII, pag. 75.


Gal. V, 9.


Cfr.   Adhortatio Apostolica, de televisione, d. 1 Ianuarii. a. 1954: A.A.S., vol.   XLVI, 1954, pag. 23.


Cfr. Sermo   de gravi televisionis momento, d. 21 Octobris, a. 1955: A. A. S., vol. XLVII,   1955, pag. 777


Cfr. Sermo   d. 14 Septembris, a. I956 habitus: A. A. S. vol. XLVIII, 1956, pag. 707.


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