MESSAGE FOR THE
42nd WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY
4 May 2008
be read out at Masses on 3 & 4 May)
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The theme of this year's World Communications Day - "The
Media: At the Crossroads between Self-Promotion and Service.
Searching for the Truth-in order
to Share it with Others" - highlights the important role of the media
life of individuals and society.
As the Pope says in his message this year; "there is
no area of human experience, especially given the vast phenomenon
of globalization, in which the media have not become an integral
part of interpersonal relations and of social, economic, political
and religious development."
The mass media today
is pervasive, persuasive and all too often invasive.
Pope Benedict rightly acknowledges the contribution the media can make to the
diffusion of news, to knowledge of facts and to the dissemination
of information but warns that the mass media can be used for
ideological purposes and "can tend to legitimise
or impose distorted models of personal, family or social life".
As Scottish Catholics we know only too well how true this
is and we are keenly aware of how rarely our own media represents
us as people of faith in a fair or balanced manner.
Today, mass communications can fairly be Charged with losing the ethical underpinning that once existed.
It is a sad reality that those involved in the production
and dissemination of much of our media content do not themselves
share the religious or moral perspectives of their audience.
There has occurred a fundamental disconnection between the
provider and the consumer. While the last national census
showed that over two-thirds of Scots described themselves
as Christians, few of those who work in radio, television
and the press share this identity.
How then can they understand what motivates and engages us and provide us, their
viewers, listeners and readers with appropriate content? The-
Pope suggests we need to introduce "info-ethics",
just as we have bioethics in the field of medicine and scientific