Media Use Calls for Prudence of Parents and Institutions, Says Pope

Warns of Distorted Views of Life, Family, Religion and Morality

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2004 ( Parents as well as public institutions need to know how to use the media “with wisdom and prudence,” says John Paul II.

The Pope delivered that message in an address today, World Communications Day, which coincided with the celebration of the solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, in Italy.

The solemnity of Ascension “reveals how humanity, assumed and redeemed by Christ, has been raised by him to full communion with God,” the Holy Father said before praying the Regina Caeli with the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

In advance of World Communications Day, John Paul II had published a message entitled “The Media in the Family: A Risk and a Richness.”

“Thanks to modern technologies,” the Pope said today, “many family households can access directly the vast resources of communication and information, and obtain from them an occasion for education, enrichment and spiritual growth.”

But he reminded the faithful that “the means of communication, however, can occasion serious damage to the family when they present an inadequate or even distorted view of life, the family itself, religion and morality.”

“It is necessary, therefore, to learn to use them with wisdom and prudence,” the Holy Father cautioned as he spoke from the window of his study. It is “a duty that, above all, concerns parents, responsible for the healthy and balanced education of the children.”

The task “is also the competence of public institutions, called to initiate procedures and regulations capable of ensuring that the means of social communication are always respectful of truth and of the common good,” the Pope said.

John Paul II also focused his attention on media personnel, for whom “in these days preceding Pentecost, we invoke Mary for the gift of the Holy Spirit, so that he will help all those who work in the sector of social communication to carry out their work with genuine apostolic drive.”

The Church looks at the communication professionals “with care and affection,” he said, and it “desires to establish with them a frank and open dialogue, to encourage the commitment in favor of the authentic progress of humanity.”

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