Saturday, March 10, 2007

Education and the Media

Me monk. Me meander reminds us of Pope Benedict XVI`s message for the 41st World Communications Day, 2007 on "Children and the Media: A Challenge for Education":

"Media education should be positive.

Children exposed to what is aesthetically and morally excellent are helped to develop appreciation, prudence and the skills of discernment.

Here it is important to recognize the fundamental value of parents’ example and the benefits of introducing young people to children's classics in literature, to the fine arts and to uplifting music.

While popular literature will always have its place in culture, the temptation to sensationalize should not be passively accepted in places of learning.

Beauty, a kind of mirror of the divine, inspires and vivifies young hearts and minds, while ugliness and coarseness have a depressing impact on attitudes and behaviour."

It is a theme to which Pope Benedict XVI has recently returned in his recent Address to the Media Council: "Safeguard the Common Good ... Uphold the Truth" (See Zenit Code: ZE07030924; Date: 2007-03-09:

"Undoubtedly much of great benefit to civilization is contributed by the various components of the mass media.

One need only think of quality documentaries and news services, wholesome entertainment, and thought-provoking debates and interviews.

Furthermore, in regard to the Internet it must be duly recognized that it has opened up a world of knowledge and learning that previously for many could only be accessed with difficulty, if at all. Such contributions to the common good are to be applauded and encouraged.

On the other hand, it is also readily apparent that much of what is transmitted in various forms to the homes of millions of families around the world is destructive. By directing the light of Christ's truth upon such shadows the Church engenders hope.

Let us strengthen our efforts to encourage all to place the lit lamp on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the home, the school, and society (cf. Mt 5:14-16)!

In this regard, my message for this year's World Communications Day draws attention to the relationship between the media and young people.

My concerns are no different from those of any mother or father, or teacher, or responsible citizen.

We all recognize that "beauty, a kind of mirror of the divine, inspires and vivifies young hearts and minds, while ugliness and coarseness have a depressing impact on attitudes and behavior" (No. 2).

The responsibility to introduce and educate children and young people into the ways of beauty, truth and goodness is therefore a grave one. It can be supported by media conglomerates only to the extent that they promote fundamental human dignity, the true value of marriage and family life, and the positive achievements and goals of humanity.

I appeal again to the leaders of the media industry to advise producers to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity and promote respect for the needs of the family. And in encouraging all of you gathered here today, I am confident that care will be taken to ensure that the fruits of your reflections and study are effectively shared with particular Churches through parish, school and diocesan structures. "