"Heightened Media World" Awaits Benedict XVI

Media Association Official Highlights Challenge for New Pope

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, APRIL 29, 2005 (Zenit.org).- A challenge facing Benedict XVI will be to communicate with and through the media, says the president of SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication.

Father Peter Malone, a Missionary of the Sacred Heart, said Benedict XVI is the first Pope to begin «his ministry as the servant of the servants of God in a heightened media world, a world of developing technologies.»

In this context, «one of the challenges among the many awaiting the new Pope» is «communicating via the media and communicating with the media,» said the priest.

The priest cited comments of Archbishop John Foley, president of Pontifical Council for Social Communications, who «spoke positively about [the Holy Father’s] capacity for communicating, emphasizing his skill in intelligence and clarity in what he wants to communicate.»

Father Malone said that most of Benedict XVI’s experience with the media has been through his previous role as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, writing «documents principally intended for the Church itself.»

As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he has also given many conferences worldwide, and «has frequently extended interview for print magazines to communicate his perspectives on the life of the Church and its teachings,» said the priest.

«His election to the papacy means that he will now be a more familiar face on television screens and his words heard on radio and television,» he stated. Yet, «it is difficult and imprudent to speculate on how Benedict XVI will come across in the media and how he will interact» with it.

Father Malone said that «it would be wise to keep our counsel and wait to see what Benedict XVI will do and how he will do it,» instead of categorizing him as simply a transition Pope, as many mistakenly tried to do with John XXIII.

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