Families must help shape mass media

Christian families should not shun the mass media, which often project false values, but they should actively participate in shaping media culture and infuse it with their own values, a Vatican spokesman told a huge gathering in Mexico City. Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, was addressing sixth World Meeting of Families, a Catholic event begun with the encouragment of the late Pope John Paul II.

The media has become “the air we breathe,” said Archbishop Celli, and it is in the family and the Church that people must “learn to filter, to decide, to choose what is seen and heard”. Educating children to make good use of communications media is the responsibility of parents, the Church and schools, he added. Good films could be a “perfect” means of deepening values and developing good criteria in children and benefiting the whole family. In this way there would not be just “one group” engaging in the media but everyone would become an active participant.

It was important not to leave children by themselves with new media such as cell phones, video games and computers, but to be with them so they could learn to use them to promote a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship.

The meeting drew between 10,000 and 30,000 participants over five days and received a video message from Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope called the family the “vital cell of society, the first and decisive resource for its development, and many times the last refuge for those whose needs aren’t met” by other social structures. For that reason “the family has the right to be recognised in its proper identity and not be confused with other forms of living together,” he said. The family should also be able to count on “deserved cultural, legal, economic, social and medical protection,” and the state should offer families school choice. ~ Zenit, Jan 18



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