Media Should Seek Truth, Not Just Numbers, Says Vatican Official

Says New Secretary of Council for Social Communications

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 26, 2004 ( People who work in the media should consider themselves at the service of truth — not just be concerned about capturing the largest audience, says a Vatican official.

«Respect for truth and respect for the person» are two underlying values which must be highlighted «in a world that runs the risk of being ever more superficial,» Bishop Renato Boccardo, the new secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, told the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

On Saturday, he was ordained a bishop by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano. More than 1,000 people attended the ordination in St. Peter’s Basilica, held on the feast of St. Francis of Sales, patron of journalists.

The new bishop, 51, has been responsible since 2000 for organizing John Paul II’s apostolic trips.

«All those who dedicate themselves to communication should, above all, consider themselves at the service of truth and, therefore, of man,» Bishop Boccardo said. «It is not enough to recount what has the greatest impact or audience.»

He added: «I begin this new experience with the clear awareness of having received a mandate from the Holy Father and I place myself at the service of the Church, whose great mission is, precisely, the proclamation of the Gospel, therefore, communication with a capital ‘C.'»

The bishop referred to the impact of the media on the formation of youth, which he appreciated when carrying out his work as head of the Youth Office of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

«Having to watch certain television series or films, or hear certain radio programs or read certain newspapers, [young people] are exposed to the risk of acquiring a view of life and of interpersonal relations that does not correspond to reality,» Bishop Boccardo explained.

This is why «the presence of Catholics in the world of communication is necessary and urgent, not to colonize or engage in crusades, but to propose, respecting each and every one, the Christian view,» he said.

«As an ecclesial community,» he added, «we must ask ourselves what we have done and what we are doing to form mature Christians and valid professionals to occupy with responsibility the post that is assigned to them.»

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