Let's Not Be Naysayers, Says Archbishop Foley
Urges Use of Media to Proclaim "Good News" Stories
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 5, 2007 (Zenit.org).- It's time for an examination of conscience regarding the use of communications media, says a Vatican official.
While opening the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications today, the dicastery's president, Archbishop John Foley, proposed a look at how well the Church is getting its message across.
"We have all sinned, not just as all men and women sin, but also in the field of communications -- especially through sins of omission but also through sins of commission," the archbishop said in his homily at the opening Mass of the plenary assembly.
"We have been guilty of sins or at least faults of omission by not using the 'mirifica' -- the wonderful things which God has made it possible for human beings to discover -- to communicate in the best possible way his love and goodness to the world," the Vatican official said.
Archbishop Foley continued: "Those who seek to sell products have used the communications media very successfully to sell soap and automobiles and clothing and vacation experiences, while we -- who have the responsibility to proclaim the most important message in the history of the human race -- have often lacked the imagination and the dedication to use the media well in making known the good news of Jesus Christ and the good news for all men and women about his love and about our destiny.
"We have also sometimes been guilty of sins or at least faults of commission in resorting more often to condemnation than to commendation in our use of the media."
The 71-year-old archbishop added: "Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has justly counseled us not to be seen as always saying 'no', but to reflect -- and to be seen to reflect -- in our use of the media the love, the mercy and the compassion of Jesus Christ."
Quoting the Gospel of the day's liturgy, the prelate voiced Jesus' words: "Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Pardon, and you shall be pardoned. Give, and it shall be given to you.
"Certainly it is necessary to identify the evils in society and to warn people against them, but our major effort should be in proclaiming the knowledge and love of our merciful savior, Jesus Christ, and the good which is done in the world in his name.
"How many 'good news' stories there are which are never reported -- often because we do not make them known!"
The archbishop reflected that almost "everybody already knows that the Catholic Church -- reflecting the teaching of Christ -- does not approve of sexual activity outside of marriage, whether that activity be heterosexual or homosexual -- but how many know about the many residences and services for pregnant and unmarried women, for children without parents or for victims of AIDS provided by the Church throughout the world in the name of Christ?"
"Use the communications media to make known the message of our merciful and loving Savior," he urged, "but may we also be perceived as being loving and merciful, following his example and indeed his mandate."