Pope Francis on Media

“The role of the mass media has been continuously growing in recent times,” he said, “so much so that it has become essential to narrate the events of contemporary history to the world. I therefore especially thank you for your distinguished service these past few days—you have had a bit of work to do, haven't you?—when the eyes of the Catholic world, and not only, were turned toward the Eternal City, in particular to this area that has St. Peter's tomb as its focal point. In these past few weeks you've gotten a chance to talk about the Holy See, the Church, her rites and traditions, her faith, and, in particular, the role of the Pope and his ministry.”
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Vatican II: the Media Interpretation

.- Pope Benedict XVI said that many of the misinterpretations of the Second Vatican Council were caused by the media promoting its own version.
“The world interpreted the council through the eyes of the media instead of seeing the true council of the fathers and their key vision of faith,” said Pope Benedict at Paul VI Hall Feb. 14.
“Fifty years later, the strength of the real council has been revealed, and it is our task for the Year of Faith to bring the real Second Vatican Council to life,” he told the priests gathered to meet him.

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Day of Radio Evangelization

The Department of Communication of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) celebrated with UNESCO and the entire world the Day of the Radio.A note sent to Fides Agency presents the initiatives organized by CELAM for this occasion, in particular a web page and an invitation to all local Catholic radio stations to send an audio message in MP3, in which the contribution of the issuer to evangelization and the pastoral plans of one's own diocese are highlighted. The messages will be shared in the appropriate page on the site of CELAM ( remembers that the radios are the most common means of communication used by the Church, and is the most important in Latin America and the Caribbean."The radio is one of the finest treasures of the Church. The messages enter into the minds and hearts of the listeners and facilitate communication and communion. The Catholic radio are tools that work for peace, love, education and the defense of life. Thanks to these wonderful techniques, human society has taken on new dimensions, time and space have been exceeded, and man has become a citizen of the world, partner and witness of the most remote events and events of all humanity ," the statement concludes recalling the Paul VI's Message. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 14/02/2013)
Links: CELAM - Special Day of the Radio:

New Spaces for Evangelization

Vatican City, 24 January 2013 (VIS) – "Social Networks: Portals of Truth and Faith; New Spaces for Evangelization" is the title chosen by the Pope for his message for the World Communications Day this year. The message is dated from  the Vatican, 24 January, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers and journalists. Following is the full text of the message.
"As the 2013 World Communications Day draws near, I would like to offer you some reflections on an increasingly important reality regarding the way in which people today communicate among themselves. I wish to consider the development of digital social networks which are helping to create a new 'agora', an open public square in which people share ideas, information, and opinions, and in which new relationships and forms of community can come into being.
These spaces, when engaged in a wise and balanced way, help to foster forms of dialogue and debate that, if conducted respectfully and with concern for privacy, responsibility, and truthfulness, can reinforce the bonds of unity between individuals and effectively promote the harmony of the human family. The exchange of information can become true communication, links ripen into friendships, and connections facilitate communion. If the networks are called to realize this great potential, the people involved in them must make an effort to be authentic since, in these spaces, it is not only ideas and information that are shared, but ultimately our very selves.
The development of social networks calls for commitment: people are engaged in building relationships and making friends, in looking for answers to their questions and being entertained, but also in finding intellectual stimulation and sharing knowledge and know-how. The networks are increasingly becoming part of the very fabric of society, inasmuch as they bring people together on the basis of these fundamental needs. Social networks are thus nourished by aspirations rooted in the human heart.
The culture of social networks and the changes in the means and styles of communication pose demanding challenges to those who want to speak about truth and values. Often, as is also the case with other means of social communication, the significance and effectiveness of the various forms of expression appear to be determined more by their popularity than by their intrinsic importance and value. Popularity, for its part, is often linked to celebrity or to strategies of persuasion rather than to the logic of argumentation. At times the gentle voice of reason can be overwhelmed by the din of excessive information and it fails to attract attention, which is given instead to those who express themselves in a more persuasive manner. The social media thus need the commitment of all who are conscious of the value of dialogue, reasoned debate and logical argumentation; of people who strive to cultivate forms of discourse and expression that appeal to the noblest aspirations of those engaged in the communication process. Dialogue and debate can also flourish and grow when we converse with and take seriously people whose ideas are different from our own. 'Given the reality of cultural diversity, people need not only to accept the existence of the culture of others, but also to aspire to be enriched by it and to offer to it whatever they possess that is good, true and beautiful'.
The challenge facing social networks is how to be truly inclusive: thus they will benefit from the full participation of believers who desire to share the message of Jesus and the values of human dignity which His teaching promotes. Believers are increasingly aware that, unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important. The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people, especially the young. Social networks are the result of human interaction, but for their part they also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships: a considered understanding of this environment is therefore the prerequisite for a significant presence there.
The ability to employ the new languages is required, not just to keep up with the times, but precisely in order to enable the infinite richness of the Gospel to find forms of expression capable of reaching the minds and hearts of all. In the digital environment the written word is often accompanied by images and sounds. Effective communication, as in the parables of Jesus, must involve the imagination and the affectivity of those we wish to invite to an encounter with the mystery of God’s love. Besides, we know that Christian tradition has always been rich in signs and symbols: I think for example of the Cross, icons, images of the Virgin Mary, Christmas cribs, stained-glass windows and pictures in our churches. A significant part of mankind’s artistic heritage has been created by artists and musicians who sought to express the truths of the faith.
In social networks, believers show their authenticity by sharing the profound source of their hope and joy: faith in the merciful and loving God revealed in Christ Jesus. This sharing consists not only in the explicit expression of their faith, but also in their witness, in the way in which they communicate 'choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically'. A particularly significant way of offering such witness will be through a willingness to give oneself to others by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence. The growing dialogue in social networks about faith and belief confirms the importance and relevance of religion in public debate and in the life of society.
For those who have accepted the gift of faith with an open heart, the most radical response to mankind’s questions about love, truth and the meaning of life – questions certainly not absent from social networks – are found in the person of Jesus Christ. It is natural for those who have faith to desire to share it, respectfully and tactfully, with those they meet in the digital forum. Ultimately, however, if our efforts to share the Gospel bring forth good fruit, it is always because of the power of the word of God itself to touch hearts, prior to any of our own efforts. Trust in the power of God’s work must always be greater than any confidence we place in human means. In the digital environment, too, where it is easy for heated and divisive voices to be raised and where sensationalism can at times prevail, we are called to attentive discernment. Let us recall in this regard that Elijah recognized the voice of God not in the great and strong wind, not in the earthquake or the fire, but in 'a still, small voice'. We need to trust in the fact that the basic human desire to love and to be loved, and to find meaning and truth – a desire which God himself has placed in the heart of every man and woman – keeps our contemporaries ever open to what Blessed Cardinal Newman called the 'kindly light' of faith.
Social networks, as well as being a means of evangelization, can also be a factor in human development. As an example, in some geographical and cultural contexts where Christians feel isolated, social networks can reinforce their sense of real unity with the worldwide community of believers. The networks facilitate the sharing of spiritual and liturgical resources, helping people to pray with a greater sense of closeness to those who share the same faith. An authentic and interactive engagement with the questions and the doubts of those who are distant from the faith should make us feel the need to nourish, by prayer and reflection, our faith in the presence of God as well as our practical charity: 'If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal'.
In the digital world there are social networks which offer our contemporaries opportunities for prayer, meditation and sharing the word of God. But these networks can also open the door to other dimensions of faith. Many people are actually discovering, precisely thanks to a contact initially made online, the importance of direct encounters, experiences of community and even pilgrimage, elements which are always important in the journey of faith. In our effort to make the Gospel present in the digital world, we can invite people to come together for prayer or liturgical celebrations in specific places such as churches and chapels. There should be no lack of coherence or unity in the expression of our faith and witness to the Gospel in whatever reality we are called to live, whether physical or digital. When we are present to others, in any way at all, we are called to make known the love of God to the furthest ends of the earth.
I pray that God’s Spirit will accompany you and enlighten you always, and I cordially impart my blessing to all of you, that you may be true heralds and witnesses of the Gospel. 'Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation'."

Catholic Academy for Communication Professionals

The Academy has started a Facebook page.
Follow us to learn about professional development opportunities, the Gabriel Awards and the June Catholic  Media Conference in Denver, Colorado.

Feel free to share the link.
David Hains
Catholic Academy webmaster

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Cyber Theology

Once translated into English you can garner insights into cyber theology from this Italian blog. Hopefully I will also find a site in English to share. For now this may inspire someone to begin a blog on the subject:

Digital Continent: Catholics and New Media

Washington (Agenzia Fides) - 62 percent of adult U.S. Catholics, representing an estimated 36.2 million people, have a profile on Facebook; 58 percent of Catholics age of 30 and under share content such as pictures, articles and comments at least once a week, and nearly a third of all surveyed said they would like their pastors and bishops to blogs: these are some results of a study released by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, CARA at Georgetown University.
"Catholic New Media Use in the United States, 2012," surveyed 1,047 self-identified Catholics. The study was released on November 11, at an Encounter With Social Media, sponsored by the Department of Communications of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in conjunction with the U.S. bishops annual Fall General Assembly in Baltimore.
The report, sent to Fides Agency by the USCCB, "suggests many opportunities for the Church to engage with those who live on the Digital continent, as Pope Benedict XVI describes this new culture of communication," said the Bishop of Salt Lake City, His Excellency Mons. John Wester, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Communications. "We can approach this as missionaries, eager to find God already present among the inhabitants of this world and to engage them, especially young people, in meaningful dialogue about morals and values in this new public square."
The adult Catholic population is nearly evenly divided by those aware of the Church’s presence online and those who are not aware of this. About a quarter (24 percent) indicated said that the Church is "somewhat" or "very" visible, while another quarter said it is "only a little '" or "not very" visible (23 percent) . More than half (53 per cent) were unaware of any significant presence. The Catholic website most often visited regularly by self-identified adults Catholics is their parish website: about one in 10 say they visit once a month or more often. This is equivalent to 5.3 million individuals. About 80 percent of respondents took the survey in English; 16 percent took it Spanish. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 13/11/2012)

6 Timely Tips for Using Apps with Kids

6 Timely Tips for Using Apps with Kids

Do your kids or grandkids use apps on your phone, tablet or e-reader? Of course they do. Many apps are fun, educational and engaging. But before you hand over your mobile device to a youngster, here are six things to know and do:
  1. Try out the apps your kid wants to use so you’re comfortable with the content and the features.
  1. Use the device and app settings to restrict a kid’s ability to download apps, make purchases within an app or access additional material.
  1. Consider turning off your wi-fi and carrier connections using “airplane mode” to disable any interactive features, prevent inadvertent taps and block access to material that you think is inappropriate or just don’t want.
  1. Look for statements about whether the app or anything within the app collects kids’ personal information — and whether they limit sharing, using or retaining the information. If you can’t find those assurances, choose another app.
  1. Check on whether the app connects to social media, gaming platforms or other services that enable sharing photos, video or personal information, or chatting with other players. Then determine whether you can block or limit those connections.
  1. Talk to your kids about the restrictions you set for downloading, purchasing and using apps; tell them what information you’re comfortable sharing through mobile devices, and why. 
Want to know more? The FTC has released a new report on mobile apps for kids. Following up on a previous report, the survey found, among other things, that many apps included interactive features, or sent information from the mobile device to ad networks, analytics companies, or other third parties, without disclosing the practices to parents.