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Inter Mirifica after 50 years:(100613) Origin, Directions, Challenges

Thứ tư - 08/10/2014 13:46
By Franz-Josef Eilers,svd

  1. Origin
Not even three months after his election as a Pope (October 28,1958) John XXIII surprised everybody when he announced a diocesan Synod for Rome and an ecumenical Council for the whole Church on January 25, 1959 at St. Paul’s cathedral outside the walls of Rome.  Soon after this announcement the first preparations started and there was right from the beginning of the internal commissions in November 1959 a commission “on the means of the apostolate”, especially referring to the “new audio-visual techniques” like Cinema, Radio/TV and the Press. One reason for this inclusion of the media right from the beginning was probably also the fact that Pope Pius XII had just one year before his death publishedon September 8, 1957 Miranda Prorsusan Encyclical letter on the electronic Media (Radio/TV,Film) which was still fresh in the minds of people. John XXIII himself had referred to this encyclical extensively in his own first encyclical letter Ad Petri Cathedram (June 29, 1959)with some 8 paragraphs (11 -19) treating beside others the duties of the Press, modern means of Communication and their relation to Truth.
Thus Communication entered already atan early stage into the preparations of Vatican II despite the fact that from the themes solicited from bishops and religious superiors including catholic ‘Institutions of Higher Learning’ like universities for discussionthemes  at the Council only 18 from a total of 2.150 answers referred to Communication, all of them from bishops and superiors, but none from any of the catholic universities. (Baragli 1969, 94)
The internal pre-preparatory Commission met two times (November 1959/March 1960) producing a written documentation on the  matter. Soon after this on May 30, 1960, the Pope issued the document Superno Dei Nutuestablishing 10 official commissions for the preparation of different documents to be presented to the council. A secretariat to handle “all questions related to the modern means of social communication, Press, Radio/TV, Film” followed with a document on June 5 of the same year.  The members and consultants of this secretariat were l appointed including the chairman in the person  of Archbishop Martin O’Connor (former Rector of the North-American College in Rome) and Msgr. Andrea Maria Deskur (later Cardinal) as secretary. It was called the “Secretariat of the Press and Film”, different from the earlier “Modern Means of the apostolate”. The members were all either bishops or clergy but came from quite different parts of the world – including one prelate from Manila.[1] This Secretariat had four sessions between November 1960 and October 1961.[2] All meetings of this secretariat
up to the final  promulgation of Inter Mirifica took place in the Palazzo San Carlo within the Vatican which also after the Council remained for many years the main seat for the Social Communication Office of the Vatican. Only in 2007  it was changed to one of the buildings in the Via Conciliazione!
This Secretariat came up with a document of 114 paragraphs: After an introductionthere  followed sections on:  1. The doctrine of the Church (with 3 subsections),  2. Action and Apostolate of the Church ( with 2 subsections), 3. Ecclesiastical Discipline and structure (with 2 subdivisions), 4. Single instruments of Communications with chapters on Press, Cinema, Radio/TV and other means like Comics, Discs, Announcement Boards etc.
The first session of the Councilitself  startedon October 11 and lasted till  December 8, 1962. The very first concern of the some 2.600  bishops/participants at the beginning was the final composition of commissions for the preparation of the documents for discussion. The original proposals of the Vatican Curia were mostly rejected and had to be reworked or even substituted by theologians (‘Periti”) of the participating bishops. This, however, did not affect the document on Social Communication which was not challenged  andactually could be handled already in the first session of the Council.
After a lengthy discussion on Liturgy, a subject which was prepared well in advance, followed first adiscussion of a document on Revelation which was, however, after some time postponed by  instruction of Pope John XXIII and to be re-worked and taken up in later sessions. Thus somehow unexpectedly the document on “The Instruments of Social Communication” came in. It was discussed by the council on November 23, 24 and 26 with 2 153, 2.133 and 2 136 participants respectively being present in the sessions. At the 28th general assembly of the Council on November 27, 1962 the document was put to a vote and out of 2 160 Fathers present 2 138 voted in favor of the text with the following provisions:

  1. To approve the text in substance and to affirm that the Council should treata subject of such importance for pastoral Ministry.
  2. Considering the comments of the different Council Fathers , however, it is proposed to shorten the existing text to the essentials of doctrine and general pastoral directives without loosing the essential parts.
  3. Everything referring to practice and execution of the teachings should be worked out as a special mandate by groups of experts from various nations.
The proposed revision was placed under the Council Commission 10 (Laity). In fact, however,basically the former Secretariat continued to meet at Palazzo San Carlo in the name of this Commission in five different sessions 1962 and 1963 to reduce the original text and re-write the new proposal.The special section on the different media which took more than half of the original document was removed.  But also 54 interventions from the floor of the Council as well as an additional42  more comments which were submitted in writing had to be  considered. One of these came from the that time auxiliary bishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtiva, the later Pope John Paul II. (Composta 1967, 39 f.)
The shortened and finally submitted text was actually not any more an extensive presentation of the field but rather a pastoral orientation. This re-edited text was then included in the material for the second plenary session of the Council from September 29 to December 4, 1963.
The reception of this ‘new’ text, however, was every else than smooth. A resistance against it built up with the conviction that the proposed text was not sufficient  and in the opinion of some had not anymore the quality of a council. There were three American Journalists who published some critical comments on November 16,1963 and concluded: “This decree, as it now stands, may one day be cited as a classic example of how the Second Vatican Council failed to come to grips with the world around it.” These comments were also signed by Frs. John Courtney Murray, Jean Danielou and Jorge Mejia (Baragli 1969, 148,Tav.23). Asimilar initiative was taken by a group of some 97 Council fathers mainly from German speaking countries who asked to postpone the final voting and re-examine the proposed text (Baragli1969,153). They distributed leaflets at the entrance of St. Peter’s immediately before the final session on November 25, 1963 with the request to postpone the voting. This was hindered personally by archbishop Felici, the secretary of the Council. It seems, however, that this contributed  to 503 “No” votes against 1788 “Yes” votes on that day, the highest No-votes for any document in the history of Vatican II. In the final voting, however, immediately before the official publication of the document on December 4, 1963 there were only 175 No Votes.
The Communication document of the Council was called moralistic, ecclesiastic and without sufficient respect for the work of laypeople in this field (Composta1967,144, cf. also Roegele 1964,316 ff.). It  was  agreed, however,  that the subject deserved to be treated by a council.  In fact some observers stated that one should be happy that the concern “made it” considering the fact that originally some 70 themes and papers were prepared for submission to the assembly out of which only 13 arrived at a final approval. (Composta 1967, 44).
Another criticism onthe council document referred to the lack of theological input. This can be partly explained by the fact that the secretariat for the preparation of the text  was mainly composed of bishops and priests who were responsible for communication undertakings but were not really  experts in theology. It seems that the theological ‘push’of the central European bishops in bringing their own theological experts for the preparation of theother  Council documents apparently never reached the Communication Secretariat. This was only somehow rectified seven years later with the publication of the Pastoral Instruction “Communio et Progressio” which was demanded by the Inter MirificaCouncil document (Nr.23).

  1. Position within Vatican II
The Communication Document Inter Mirifica was one of the first two documents of the Second Vatican Council. It was published December 4, 1963 at the end of the second session of the assembly. Thismeans,  that the following theological  considerations and insights of the Council as reflected in later discussions and documents could not have any influence on the published  communication text. Thus the so called ‘lack of theology’ could not be addressed any more. It means, however, that there is still a need to study the remaining 14 Vatican II documents after Inter Mirifica under the perspective of communication and the possibility to bringing in  a broader vision of the field. Thus e.g. the document on the Church Lumen Gentium or the one on Revelation Dei Verbum which went through 7 different drafts before it was finally accepted seem to be quite relevant. Revelation is a communication ‘activity’. What does this mean for the communicative life and work of the Church? Along the same  lines also the final document which actually evolved from the Council fathers themselves and was not prepared by any of those other preparatory commissions:Gaudium et Spesseems to be of special importance for the social communication work of the church which is imbedded in modern cultures and the life and concerns of people of today. It is not insignificant that this document has e.g.  a whole chapter on Culture (Nos. 53-62) which is of growing importance in an intercultural world and Communication. But also other texts of the Second Vatican Council present special challenges for pastoral Communication like e.g. the ones on Priesthood (PresbyterorumOrdinis), Bishops (Christus Dominus) and priestly Formation (OptatamTotius). The sending of the Church in Mission (Ad Gentes) is a sending for communicating the life and Word of God (Evangelizing Communication)! Priestly and pastoral Spirituality is to be communicative spirituality: only a priest, bishop, Christian who is communicative will reach and influence others! The declarations on Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate) and on religious freedom (DignitatisHumanae) are essential texts for any inter-religious dialogue and proper human communication and interaction!
Cardinal Franz Koenig (Vienna) recommended already 1968 at the World Congress of the Catholic Press in Berlin to the participants to go beyond Inter Mirifica and read and study especially Lumen Gentiumand GaudiumetSpes if they wanted to have a proper insight and approach to Social Communication in the spirit of Vatican II. Avery Dulles (1988) has developed five models of the communicating Church on the basis of the different Vatican II documents. But beyond this there seems to be hardly any  otherextensive study along these lines which should be a matter of great interest  for the Church and for everybody who is concerned about proper and theologically grounded communication. The pastoral instruction CommunioetProgressio (1971) which was demanded by the Council Fathers in Inter Mirifica goes a little bit in this direction and might be considered as complementing some missing parts in the earlier document.  But even this is not enough for a deeper and thorough  understanding and synthesis of the social communication in the understanding of Vatican II.

  1. The Role of Pope John XXIII
In the history of Inter Mirifica it is astonishing to see how communication was included right from the beginning of the preparations for the Second Vatican Council.  Apparently the pope himself had a special personal interest in this field.
Already Pope John XXIII’s the predecessor Pope Pius XII had  an extensive interest and concern for the different means of communication. He not only has many speeches and addresses to communication people (cf. Eilers 2011, 77-121) but also published important documents with his Ideal Film (1955). About a year before his death he  published September 8, 1957 the Encyclical Miranda Prorsus which is devoted to the electronic media: Radio, Television, Film. The memory of this last bigger document of his life was still fresh in the minds of people when he died. In fact some argued that because of this there would be no need for an additional document of the Council. Such a situation could not be ignored by his immediate successor Pope John XXIII who followed October 28,1958. In fact John XXIII himself has not only in his first encyclical letter Ad PetriCathedram (June 29,1959) an extensive section on the duties of the Press and modern media of communication (Nos. 11-18). He also created within the Vatican on February 22, 1959 a “Pontifical Commission for Film, Radio, Television” which following  anInter Mirifica proposal (19)was extended by Pope Paul VI  April 1964 to all means of Social communication.
Pope John XXIII showed also his personal and special interest in the proposed Council document on social communication through a personal visit in one of the sessions of the preparatory secretariat. On October 19, 1961 he went to the Palazzo San Carlo within the Vatican, where the secretariat was in session and stayed 1 ½ hours with the members of the group, discussing beside others also the relation between art and morals. One of the participants also later remembered his word that for him personally the language of the heart would be more important than the one of words. (Baragli 1969,114)
When the final proposal of the Communicationdocument  was discussed and voted upon at the Central Committee for the Council on April 3, 1962 the Pope once again devoted a longer part of his speech to especially this document and its concerns. In fact he had personally studied and read the text  and wrote some remarks on the side of the draft, like e.g. calling the proposal for national communication offices and respective structures as “optime” (Baragli1969, 116; Tavola XVII). At this occasion he also referred to his own announcements (cf. Eilers 2011, 123-133) and the two communication encyclicals of his predecessors Popes Pius XI (VigilantiCura) and Pius XII (Miranda Prorsus).
From all this one must conclude that the Council document on Social Communication was of special  personal interest to Blessed Pope John XXIII.

  1. Teachings and Approaches
Looking at the teachings of the council document it might be good to be aware of the different translations available in English:  Usually the translation of Fr. Austin Flannery OP (1975) is used which seems, however, to reflect a less positive approach to the text. Thus he translates e.g. as the purpose of Inter Mirirfica(no.2) “that it is the duty to treat the main problems posed by the means of Social Communication” while the official Vatican text reads: “to treat the principlequestions linked with the media of Social Communication” which sounds more positive.   Instead of Flannery’s “birthright” of the Church to use and own these media (3) the Vatican translation talks about “an inherent right of the Church to have at its disposal and to employ any of these Media insofar as they are necessary or useful for the instruction of Christians and all its efforts for the welfare of souls.”
In general Inter Mirifcaseems to be only an outline on Church and Social Communicationbecause of the document’s reduction from a longer and more extensive text presented  originally to the Council. Basically the text underlines the right of the Church to own and use means of communication proper to her ministry (3). In a similar way also the moral obligations of the members of the Church as well as those involved in media production are underlined. The right to information is confirmed (5) as well as the role of public opinion (8). Further it is “the responsibility of all Christians, but especially also the “pastors of souls”, Priests and Religious to develop a proper use and support especially for Church related means of communication (13-17). Many of these things actually had been expressedalready  in earlier Church documents, but here they receive the authority of a Council.
More important, however, for the future of communication seem to be the following facts, proposals and initiatives which reflect a special permanent concern of  and for the Church:

  1. With Inter Mirifica it is the first time in the history of the Church that an ecumenical Council discussed and published a document on Social Communication and thus underlines this as an essential concern for the Church.
  2. The document proposes a central office for Communication in the Vatican and also consequently national offices for Social Communication for Bishops’ Conferences, guided by a commission of bishops and a bishop appointed. The same is proposed for every diocese wherethe bishop is finally responsible for all Church activities in Social Communication, including those of Religious. (Nos. 21,20)
  3. A World Day of Communicationis established, the only such initiative taken by the Vatican Council. The day is celebrated annually (since 1967) with a respective theme which the Pope selects and on which he comments with a special message. With this over the years quite a body of Church ‘teaching’ on Social Communicationis being built up. (No.18).
  4. The publication of a more extensive pastoral Instruction is demanded (No.23) to be elaborated by a group of experts which led to the extensive “Pastoral Instruction” Communio et Progressio (1971) with 187 paragraphs, a document considered as one of the bests even beyond the catholic Church.  It was 20 years later followed by another ‘pastoral instruction’ Aetatis Novae to commemorate and extend the document from 1971. (No.18)
  5. The expression Social Communicationis introduced for the Vatican II document“DeinstrumentisCommunicationisSocialis”. First it was more a common expression for the different means of communication like Press, Radio etc. but later extended in a broader way, going beyond the “instruments” as the “Communication of and in human Society”.
  6. The need for proper formation and training in use and application of communication in Ministry is strongly stressed (13-15), repeated also in Communio et  Progresssio (111)and other documents but up till now hardly developed in a systematic and integrated way especially in pastoral ministry. The same holds for proper research and academic work by catholic institutions of higher learning and universities (cf. C&P 113; 184/185) Social Communication is still seen as a field for some specialists (‘hobby”)but not as a common concern touching all areas of human life and society – which was actually confirmed by the Council fathers who considered this field as being worth and important to be  discussed andpart of an ecumenical Council!
  1. Professional Consequences and follow up
Inter Mirifica givesclear directions for a proper structure of communication within the national Bishops’ Conferences and also for international cooperation between these on continental and regional levels. This, however, is not yet followed in some places even after 50 years! In a similar way also proper formation programs in communication asproposed by the document which should also go beyond single media use (skills!?)are almost nowhere a regular part of priestly and religious formation which is more than simple technical ‘training’ (“how to use…”). Academic studies in pastoral communication and related fields are still very sporadic. The University of Santo Tomas in Manila (UST) with a regular MA and Licenciateprogram  inCommunication Theologyis probably still an exception.
The development of the concept of Social Communicationas a field broader than technology and single media but as an essential part of any human living and society  still needs to be further promoted and developed. It is basic for any Church ministry to develop communicative persons, which is essential for the life and growth of Christianity and the Church. Communicative persons are the bringer of “new” Evangelization!  An awareness of this communication dimension of pastoral ministries is still very cryptic and not really in the awareness of many Church leaders and members.

  1. Challenges
From all this there are some more and special challenges coming up for further considerations and developments which should be considered:
  1. From Instrumentality (Media) to “Social Communication”
The official title of the document Inter Mirifica is: Decretum de instrumentisCommunicationisSocialis. On first sight  itseems to be a text on the instruments (Media) and their use. Fr. Enrico Baraglisj, one of the authors of the document spends in his “Alance de los terminos” ( 1966, 39-72)several pages to explain what this expression “instrumentos” means and justifies its use. In fact the expression has been part of the title of the document right from the beginning of the preparations through the Council till its proclamation in December 1963. Unfortunately it was never really explained and clarified. Only when Pope Paul VI followed the proposal of Inter Mirificato erect  with “In fructibusmultis” April 2, 1964  a special Vatican  office for communication the “instruments” were dropped from the title and only “Social Communication” remained. According to Fr. Baragli this was done “per comodo di brevita”, just for brevities sake which can rightly be questioned. In his explanation of the different words of this expression he seems to indicate already that the new expression in general terms would open the whole field more to sociology, theology and morals instead of getting stuck with single means of communication, like Press, Radio, TV or Film.  This in fact was one of the strong criticisms of the German Communication scholar Otto B. Roegle already end of 1964 in his extensive study of Inter Mirifica where he stated that only the title of the document looked professional but the content not at all. “The concept of social communication”, he wrote, “is understood to be  in sociology, communication science and social philosophy as one of the top creative elements (“Vegetationsspitzen”) for research and teaching”[3] but  “unfortunately not much (of this) can be seenin the text of the decree. Instead the ‘communication process’ appears in Inter Mirifica in the old understanding of working from top to bottom, or as a monologic approach (“Hinsage”) which might be fitting for the traditionally organized authoritative society” but  “certainly not for today’s society where communication takes place in form of give and take, as ‘Dialogue in society’ which is also reflected in the means of communication…” This was written after the final publication of the document end of 1964[4] (Roegele 1964, 317 f.) Thus already at that time  communication scholars moved away from single media to a broader understanding of communication in human society which was - despite the title of the Decree - apparently not fully understood be respective Church people. Thus the “instrument mentality” continued also in many follow up documents and the real meaning of “Social Communication” as the communication of and in human society was not much developed.[5]This changed, however, with Pope John Paul II when he in his Encyclical Letter “RedemptorisMissio” (1990, No.37c) talked about a “new culture” created by communications which needs also an answer from the Church. In  today’s new world of “social media” and “social networks” the expression “social communication” takes on  a new and important meaning as the overall heading for a field which is finally also recognized by the Church but still needs much more “investments’ in research and practice.
  1. From ‘Instrumentality’ to Communication Theology
Something similar can be said for the theological approach of the document Inter Mirifica which seems to be missing for many. Attempts have been made for a “Theology of Communication to somehow ‘baptize’ the Media and thus place them also into the garden of the Church or reclaim them for her use. In reality, however, communication is to be seen as a theological principle: the whole of theology can be considered under this perspective. Theologians like Martini, Haering, Rahner,Greshake, Dulles, and others have pointed in this direction and developed the field: the Trinitarian God is communication, Father, Son and Holy Spirit communicating with each other and we are created in this image and likeness. The whole Bible, the First and Second Testament are books of God’s communication with andof  his creatures. The high point of this is the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the master (“perfect Communicator”)and “Urbild” of Communication. The Church is called not only to use Media but to be herself in everything she does a reflection of God’s communication into the here and now of every time.
  1. From pastoral methodology to Disposition
Over the years there is quite some literature on how to use the ‘Media” for pastoral ministry and quite some formation houses and seminaries had “training” courses on how to properly use these Media. In reality, however, this is very often seen and experienced as a welcome break for students and seminarians in the monotony of their studies but does not really ‘form’ them. Social Communication, however, is rather a challenge for a proper formation of the candidate, an inner disposition and not an outside attitude or a ‘skill’. It is the communication Spirituality which is based on a total openness to God, to Self and Others which is decisive and forms the foundation to become a communicative person which is required for any pastoral minister.  Such a disposition is, however, not only needed for seminarians but also for priests, any secretary of a parish and also bishops.
  1. From Structure to Spirit
The Council document Inter Mirifica confirms and describes earlier proposals for national and diocesan communication offices starting with the Vatican itself. These structures are up till now after 50 years only partly developed and in place. But also here one has to keep in mind that structures alone do not guarantee the proper and effective use if they don’t have proper programs and especially communicative persons to develop a visionin proper individual situations. It isfinally  not the structure but the Spirit which moves the Church. In a similar way the Church and her institutions are often identified as and with institutions but in reality they are supposed to be living communities which presuppose communicative persons. Maybe we are also not enough concerned about proper formations and academic study programs to develop and equip such personalities…
  1. From Isolation to Integration
In the pre-conciliar preparation for Inter Mirifica the group of the secretariat was divided into workgroups according to Media: Press, Radio-TV, Film. The main part of the proposed original document reflected this with more than half of the text devoted to these Media. Already the two encyclical letters on communication before Vatican II were devoted to special Media with Pope Pius XI on Film and Pope Pius XII on electronic Media. It was only through the Pastoral InstructionCommunio et Progressio which was decreed by the Council that a broader perspective beyond single media was considered  with communication as a reality of human society. The tendency for single media, however, continued also after that. Thus almost all exhortations of the Popes after synods have a section on communication but often again referring to  single Media or generally Mass Media as one activity of the Church instead of integrating the communication dimension into all pastoral and evangelizing activities of the Church. The same holds for our teaching of Theology where Communication is considered a separate subject but not as a dimension of all Theology like e.g. the bible as communication of God to us, or faith as a communicative experience challenging us in the world today like in Fundamental Theology, or the Church as a community and communicative body (Ecclesiology), human and divine communication as norm for behavior (Moral Theology)….
  1. From Means and Media to Social Communication in its full sense
After the application of the expression: ”Social Communication” as common word for all “Media” the real full meaning of this as ”communication  of and in human Society” has to be developed.  Almost all communication documents of the Church are still media but not social communication oriented with communication as the essential life line of human society which includes e.g. also traditional ways and means of communication like music, dance, theater, storytelling and all forms of oral communication as well as also the modern technical means (Internet) which make everybody their own editor, writer, producer and commentator reaching all parts of the world in an instance…
The full meaning, value and power of all communication in society(“Social Communication”!)isapparently  still to be discovered by the Church and all of us! There is a first indication for this, however, in the approach of Communio et Progressiowhere after Theology the first main part over almost 100 paragraphs talks about the role of Communication in human society in general and the contribution of the Catholics to Communication is treated extensively only in the third and last part of the document….

  1. From ‘Essentials’ of Inter Mirificato modern times
The Council document Inter Mirifica has been blamed in  negatives many times as e.g. in an editorial of the London Tablet, one of the oldest catholic weeklies in Europe, as “the embarrassingly poor decree on the mass media” because it was one of those made by the Roman Curia and it was apparently not enclosed as one of those which instead of being endorsed by the council fathers who “swept almost all of it aside and  started again” (October 6, 2012). This does, however, not mean that the Council document  is useless, as some people say…
The fact stays that the majority of the Council fathers underlined the  importance of the means of Communication in the modern world and declared the treatment of social communication by a council as important. This fact is not changed after 50 years but rather challenges us to take up the essentials and place them into a proper theological but also cultural and social perspective where communication is the lifeline of everything, personal and communal…  In a way we have to repeat the process of “aggiornamento” of the Council into our life today. This might include beside a deeper theological  foundation e.g. a review  and further development  of Communio et Progressio approaches in afresh Christian look on the role of communication in society and Culture today and the formation of really communicative persons and spirits. No New Evangelization will be possible without that!
 
 
 
 
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[1] For a full list of participants cf. Roegele 1964, Footnote 9! The only participant from Asia was Mgr. Giustino Ortiz, Archdiocese of Manila who only participated in some sessions..       
[2] 1. November 13-15, 1960; 2. January 24-27, 1961; 3.April 25-28, 1961; 4. October 12-21, 1961 (this one with work groups on different Media)

 
[3](“Der Begriff der sozialenKommunikationgehoert in Soziologie, Zeitungs- bzw.Publizistikwissenschaft und Sozialphilosophiezu den Vegetationsspitzenvon  Forschung und Lehre.”)
[4]The German communication scholar Walter Hagemann  defined already  1958 communication (“Publizistik”) as the “public sharing of actual things from peoples mind” (“OeffentlicheAussageaktuellerBewusstseinsinhalte”) and his successor HenkPrakke talks already (1964) about communication as “Dialogue of Society”. Here is no word about media or technology but rather human society stays at the core exactly at the time of the Second Vatican Council!
[5]Even after “Inter Mirifica” Church documents used the new expression just as a common word for the different mass media but not in a broader perspective. Fr. Baragli himself still used the expression ‘Mass Media” in a longer article on 10 years after the publication without mentioning “social Communication” but commenting in a footnote (nr.30):”In this essay I have preferred to use this term (Mass media) instead of the longer and more exact ‘instruments of Social Communication’, bearing in mind that to many readers this terminology of the decree is not familiar, as it is (or should be) among Catholics” (Baragli 1974). This remark is the more astonishing as it was according to Card. Andrea M. Deskur (at the Plenary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication 2004) was Baragli who proposed the new expression (“Social Communication”) to the Secretariat for the presentation at the Council. A footnote at the beginning the official document in the hands of the Council members actually defended the new expression ‘Social Communication’because  words like ‘mass media’ would not sufficiently reflect the concern of the Church in this field (cf. Eilers,2011, 136 ff).

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