Media Must Not Be a Forum for Lynching, Says Cardinal

Chilean Prelate Urges Journalists to Serve the Cause of Truth

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SANTIAGO, Chile, SEPT. 6, 2004 ( The Church urges the media to «serve the truth» and to abstain from becoming «a new form of court and popular lynching,» says the president of the Chilean bishops’ conference.

Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz, archbishop of Santiago, delivered that message in an address entitled «Means, Only of Social Communication?» He gave the address Aug. 27 to the Press Club of the Catholic University of Santiago de Chile.

The cardinal said that «institutions and individuals — also judges, parliamentarians, mayors and priests — must get used to living under more intense public light, even if certain reflections are painful.»

He analyzed the ethical implications of journalism and referred to the Church’s role.

«To configure the plan of selection, which is part of the editorial line, the Church points out that social communication is directed toward communion and progress in human coexistence,» the cardinal said.

The «Church does not ask that journalism be concerned exclusively with positive news,» but that it serve the truth and the common good, he added.

Nor does the Church call for the establishment of «ideological parameters, or the avoidance of conflictive communications,» Cardinal Errázuriz continued.

According to the Chilean prelate, the foundation of the theology of communication is «creation itself and, beyond that, the whole revelation and history of the people who received the words of God about themselves and about man.»

The cardinal, who is also president of the Latin American bishops’ council, CELAM, said that «the Church itself, reflecting on its own nature, must see itself as a sacrament of communion.»

«For those who are Catholics it is an exciting and gratifying task, as few are, to find the way to make the values of the Gospel attractive, considering that they represent the great truth about the reality of man,» he added.

«It would be a breath of fresh air if every citizen had the confidence to know, without any distortions, what is the path, what are the plans, what is the spiritual and ethical caliber of the country’s public servants, and was able to trust the image that all the media present of them,» he told the journalists.

The cardinal added: «A human society requires means of communication that generate transparency to avoid abuse, corruption and injustice.»

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