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Background: World Communications Day

Catholic World News - May 18, 2012

On May 20, the Church will commemorate the 46th World Communications Day. As has been customary since 1986, Pope Benedict released his message for the day (“Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization” ) on January 24, the memorial of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists.

In the Decree on the Media of Social Communications (Inter Mirifica, 1963), the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council stated:

Moreover, that the varied apostolates of the Church with respect to the media of social communication may be strengthened effectively, each year in every diocese of the world, by the determination of the Bishops, there should be celebrated a day on which the faithful are instructed in their responsibilities in this regard. They should be invited to pray and contribute funds for this cause. Such funds are to be expended exclusively on the promotion, maintenance and development of institutes and undertakings of the Church in this area, according to the needs of the whole Catholic world.

In “the vast and complex phenomenon of the modem means of social communication, such as the press, motion pictures, radio and television,” Pope Paul VI saw “the unfolding and the realization of a wonderful plan of God’s providence, which opens to man’s genius ever new ways of achieving his perfection and of attaining to his final end,” as he said in his message for the 1st World Communications Day in 1967.

“One cannot ignore the danger and the damage which these means, however noble in themselves, can inflict upon individuals and society when they are not employed by man with a sense of responsibility, with an honest intent and in conformity with the objective moral order,” he added.

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