Media Urged to Be Committed to Truth and Human Dignity

Bishops of the Americas Hold Conference in Colombia

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BOGOTA, Colombia, FEB. 25, 2005 ( The media should be guided by the principles of human dignity and truth, and not lead to the «dehumanization» of society, say the bishops of the Americas.

That was a point highlight at a recent conference on «The Secularization of Society, Evangelization, and the Media.»

The event was the 33rd such meeting of representatives of all 24 bishops’ conferences of the American continents. The prelates particularly reflected on the postsynodal apostolic exhortation «Ecclesia in America.»

A press conference Feb. 16, at the conclusion of the meeting, was attended by, among others, Bishop William Skyland and Archbishop Brendan O’Brien, presidents of the U.S. and Canadian bishops’ conferences, respectively.

During the working sessions, the prelates acknowledged that the media is «a gift of God» and «great wealth for humanity,» said a statement issued by the Latin American bishops’ council, CELAM.

«Moreover, the participants in this meeting were in agreement that human dignity must always be a priority value in the means of social communication. Hence the media must contribute to the development of the human being and of society and not to their dehumanization,» they wrote.

However, «the media must also demonstrate its commitment to truth,» given the profound influence it exercises, as for many people, «the search for truth is linked to what they see in the media,» they said.

«When the media’s commitment to truth is defective, then people’s judgments and conduct are likewise defective. For this reason, the Church feels especially committed to seeing that the media defends ethical imperatives,» explained the prelates.

Considering «the great demands that weigh on communicators,» the prelates reflected on their obligation to be pastors to «Catholics working in the media: to support them in their faith, to help them to be witnesses of Christ in their world, to offer them the possibility to know the Church well and to acquire good ethical formation.»

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