Church Must Help Form Communicators, Says Archbishop

Cites John Paul II’s Last Apostolic Letter

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LYON, France, NOV. 9, 2005 ( One of the great challenges facing the Church is to make its contribution to the formation of communicators, says a Vatican official.

Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, made that comment today when speaking about a proposal Pope John Paul II made in his last apostolic letter, «The Rapid Development.»

That letter was dedicated precisely to communications. Archbishop Foley discussed it when addressing a meeting of SIGNIS, the world Catholic association for communication.

The archbishop was heard by 190 media professionals from 70 countries, who convened near Lyon for a conference entitled «Media for a Culture of Peace.»

Archbishop Foley revealed: «The last time I was privileged to have a meal with the late Pope John Paul II, he asked if we wished to have a document from him to mark the 40th anniversary of ‘Inter Mirifica,’ the document of the Second Vatican Council on communications.»

«Naturally, I responded ‘yes,’ but, when he became ill, I must say that I had lost hope of receiving such a document,» the archbishop recalled.

«However, in the period between his two hospitalizations in February of this year, we received this marvelous document, ‘The Rapid Development,’ which should be a subject of meditation for all of us,» the Vatican official said.

3 tasks

Archbishop Foley, 69, believes that the document «provides a challenge for the future work of SIGNIS and for our own Pontifical Council for Social Communications.»

The letter contains «a special tribute to you as Catholic communicators,» the prelate observed.

«Those individuals in the Church community particularly gifted with talent to work in the media,» wrote John Paul II, «should be encouraged with pastoral prudence and wisdom, so that they may become professionally capable of dialoguing with the vast world of the mass media.»

«The Holy Father noted three tasks: formation, participation, dialogue,» Archbishop Foley said. He went on to quote from the apostolic letter:

«In the first place, a vast work of formation is needed to assure that the mass media be known and used intelligently and appropriately. …

«‘In the second place, I would like to recall our attention to the subject of media access, and of co-responsible participation in their administration. …

«Finally, there cannot be forgotten the great possibilities of mass media in promoting dialogue, becoming vehicles for reciprocal knowledge, of solidarity and of peace.»

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