Responding to God’s Call for Communication
"It would be expected, therefore, that the Parish House and the Parish office be transformed into a hub where the information, vies and ideas flow in and out after they are informed with the teachings of Jesus and the Church;"
The social communication media is one issue which caught attention of the Fathers gathered for the Ecumenical Council Vatican II. Not only. They were filled with amazement with such a development – an amazement which was translated into a decree. Titled Inter Mirifica, it was published on December 4, 1963. Being all praises for this development, the Council Fathers begin this Decree with these inspiring and challenging words: “Man’s genius has with God’s help produced marvellous (mirifica) technical inventions from creation, especially in our times. The Church, our mother, is particularly interested in those which directly touch man’s spirit and which have opened up avenues of easy communication of all kinds of news, of ideas and orientations” (IM 1).
It may seem surprising that that august and solemn gathering of the Catholic Church could have an interest and time to discuss such a secular matter; apparently the subject could be considered purely scientific, with no religious connotation. And the Church did not stop at discussing this evolving world and producing a document. No matter discussed at that historical event remained a purely academic issue; so it was with the issue of communications. In the very same document, some measures are established as to awaken in the faithful to the reality of the media. With this aim in mind, a day “to make the Church’s multiple apostolate in the field of social communication more effective” was to be set apart. And the Popes, since then, have never stopped giving their messages focussing on one or the other aspects of the media; and this is not to speak of various documents issued by the Holy See. The Holy See itself, at the request of the Council Fathers, through a Motu Proprio of Pope Paul VI Fructibus Multis, extended the competence of the existing Secretariat for the Press and Entertainment to all the media of social communications; henceforth it was to be called The Pontifical Commission for the means of Social Communication. (cf IM 18, 19).
The reason for this stress on the media is not far from finding. The last year’s Message for the World Communication Day, Pope Benedict XVI had admitted that the popularity of “new technologies” “with their users should not surprise us, as they respond to a fundamental desire of people to communicate and to relate to each other.” Further, he asserts that this desire would not be adequately understood as a mere response to these technologies. Inspired by the biblical message, the Pope asserts that “it should be seen primarily as a reflection of our participation in the communicative and unifying Love of God, who desires to make of all humanity one family.” He adds: “When we find ourselves drawn towards other people, when we want to know more about them and make ourselves known to them, we are responding to God’s call - a call that is imprinted in our nature as beings created in the image and likeness of God, the God of communication and communion.”
In this perspective the ministry to and for the Word of God in and through the media assumes a well deserved importance. The Word of God made man is the summit of God’s communication. He is the One who is the communication par excellence of the Love of God and He is the Love of God who unifies. And he says further: “Church communities have always used the modern media for fostering communication, engagement with society, and, increasingly, for encouraging dialogue at a wider level.” And these are activities which convey the Love of God and create an ambience for this Word of God fulfil His task.
The priest, entrusted with the shepherding task, is the one who is called with the knowledge of the media and imbued with spirituality and theology of the Word Make this Word “present” in the web this technology created. It is the much required service to the Word and His Church.
It would be expected, therefore, that the Parish House and the Parish office be transformed into a hub where the information, vies and ideas flow in and out after they are informed with the teachings of Jesus and the Church; it would be expected that a team of collaborators would in constant contact with the priests shepherding the parish to attend to this flow adequately and with expertise; the dialogue involved in the process would result in a formation, however elemental, to enter into the cyberspace and create a space for God, a space where the non-believers and those who doubt would be able to unveil the face of God.
And the only requirements are a computer, a telephone connection and an email account. Thence, possibilities are immense.
Fr. Francisco Caldeira
Fr. Francisco Caldeira