Use of Media Urged in
Many Diocesan Press Services Poorly Organized, Says Priest
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2005 (Zenit.org).-
Using the media to spread the Gospel message isn't an option for
believers, a missionary told a Vatican-organized symposium.
"To evangelize through the media is not something merely optional
but an imperative," said Father Gerardo Pastor, when addressing a
congress on "The Church and the Media: An Unlimited Future."
The former rector of the Pontifical University of Salamanca
highlighted the differences that exist between a widely held theory
and reality, when responding to the question "Is it possible to
evangelize through the media?"
The congress, an initiative of the Pontifical Council for Social
Communications, brought together communicators, bishops, priests,
religious and laity last Thursday and Friday.
Claretian Missionary Father Pastor described John Paul II as "an
excellent communicator, who has not limited himself to appear on
television, radio and newspapers but has succeeded in conditioning the
very agenda setting of those very media."
"On the theoretical plane, the Church admits and proclaims the
enormous importance of the modern media to evangelize; however, on the
plane of action, things are not so forceful," he lamented.
"The press services of many dioceses are poorly organized, if
they exist at all, compared to those of important enterprises,"
the priest continued.
"Official diocesan spokesmen and those of bishops' conferences do
not always have journalistic preparation and communicative reflexes to
give agile, transparent, clear and appropriate answers at the
opportune moment," he added.
The professor and missionary suggested that one regards the
evangelizing act as "persuasive communication,"
understanding by this not seduction or indoctrination, but the ability
to "convince with arguments."
The language of the media is "formally different from that used
in sacred or homiletic oratory," he warned.
Such language calls for "much synthesis, slogans and
thought-provoking phrases." It is a way of speaking without
theoretical distinctions, "more intuitive than analytical, more
narrative than discursive, less ordinary and repetitive than the
academic," Father Pastor explained.
"In a world which has already assimilated the new media culture,
the Church must not be lethargic, acting at the wrong time or with
doctrinal arrogance, as if it was speaking only to its own
faithful," he said.
Father Pastor, who has a doctorate in educational and psychological
sciences from the Pontifical Salesian University, lamented that
"the best communications professionals usually lack theological
formation, while the best ecclesiastical speakers and writers usually
lack sensibility and experience in media communication."
Be Not Afraid of Media, Urges
Advice From a French Journalist at Vatican Symposium
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2005 (Zenit.org).-
The Church has nothing to hide, says a French editor at a recent
Vatican symposium on the media.
"Although the sacred must be preserved, in all else the Church
has nothing to hide," explained Franz-Oliver Giesbert, editor of
the French weekly Le Point.
"It must be very present in the media, but without ingenuousness
or lack of professionalism, always choosing its field of intervention
well," he advised.
Giesbert was responding to the question "What Do the Media Expect
from the Church?" in the symposium on "The Church and the
Media: An Unlimited Future," organized by the Pontifical Council
for Social Communications. The event in Rome ended Friday.
Giesbert, born in the U.S. state of Delaware, arrived in France when
he was 3. After an intense literary and journalistic life, he became
editor of Le Point.
"Despite the Pope's appeals for evangelization, I seems to me
that the clergy too often lives shut in on itself," he said.
"I feel like saying: 'Don't be afraid; don't be afraid of the
media which deform everything; don't be afraid to cry out your truths
to the world,'" he exhorted.
Giesbert admitted his personal lack of interest in television, but he
reminded his audience that "the whole world watches it," so
he encouraged the Church to "make noise," in the best sense
of the word, namely, to make itself heard.
The Church "must accept being an objective of the press. I would
dare to say that it is often a good sign," he added.
Later, Giesbert told ZENIT: "To communicate, it is necessary to
choose the moment well and to explain oneself well."