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This will be specially important whenever particular norms for moral behaviour and pastoral practice are derived from theories and proposals. This teaching collected into one place in Appendix I offers a great deal of material for study and reflection. Necessary Aids.

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The Congregation wishes that in the various linguistic and cultural areas, suitable books and texts shall be quickly and carefully prepared and distributed, to be used in the first two levels of social communications training in the seminaries. They will contain the Church's official teaching, accompanied by study notes and well organized bibliographies indicating the literature published throughout the world on the various aspects of the subject.

The initial introduction and basic training ought to enlighten the students, refine their critical sense, and form their conscience, so as to save them falling prey to the facile suggestions and manipulations perpetrated by the mass media , particularly where these may offend against truth or morality.

The idea is to give the students a sound doctrinal and ascetical training, so that they will be well-equipped "to take responsibility for the manner in which they receive, by their free and personal choice, whatever is presented by the media Division of responsibility in student training. The family, 21 the catechism class 22 and the school, 23 particularly the Catholic school, whether primary, secondary, or higher, are expected to provide the basic training for the receivers, conjointly and at the appropriate time.

But in cases where students entering the seminary are found to be lacking in this basic training, the seminary itself will have to supply it. In any case, the seminary will not confine itself to giving classes in mass media in the course of its ordinary curriculum, but will, in addition, arrange for courses, conferences, seminars, exercises 25 and talks Cultural aspect.

The student will require to know something about the technical aspects of each medium, otherwise he cannot hope to understand its "language" correctly. They should be carefully instructed also regarding the economic, political or ideological structures which, in the different national and cultural areas, may affect the media of social communications at the level of production, distribution or consumption, or may condition the messages coming from them, either in quantity or quality.

This cultural and aesthetic formation, training and refining the good taste of the students will make it natural for them to reject as a matter of course programming of poor cultural quality or moral unseemliness. Religious and moral aspect. The religious and moral aspect is of fundamental importance in the training of future priests towards that personal interior freedom, rooted in deep conviction, which will cause them to set an example, regarding mass media , that their people will wish to follow.

In thus preparing them The students' attention shall be directed also to any "moral judgements" which shall happen to be pronounced by the competent authority. Exposure to the mass media. The students need to become acquainted with the real world about which they are being taught in class. They need also to be trained to give "the witness of a well-rounded and mature personality that can enter relationships with others without exaggerated precautions or naive imprudence, but with an open-hearted and serenely-balanced cordiality.

They should be drilled, by means of forums and other similar exercises, in analyzing, discussing and giving critical judgement on media shows and messages, especially those dealing with matters which are topical and controversial in the religious, moral or cultural fields;. Necessary balance. Situations will arise where it is found necessary to find remedies for past excessive use or misuse of the mass media.

In such cass, the basic media training course should be conducted in a context of balanced individual and community discipline, designed to compensate for the cultural and spiritual imbalance connected with a prolonged and unbalanced use of mass media. The damage to be repaired will have arisen either from the content of the media programmes which may have been sometimes unseemly or of poor quality; or even from the manner of presentation, which may have resulted in the "medium" itself becoming the "message".


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As an antidote to time-wasting, sometimes even alienating indulgence in superficial media programmes, the students should be guided to the love and practice of reading, study, silence and meditation. They should be encouraged, and be provided with the necessary conditions for community dialogue and prayer. This will serve to remedy the isolation and self-absorbtion caused by the unidirectional communication of the mass media , and will revive the authentic and absolute value proper to the Christian profession and the priestly ministry, particularly those of obedience and evangelic poverty, 31 which the materialist and consumerist vision of human existence offered by the instruments of social communication very often rejects or ignores.

The three aims. The social communications training of the second level, which is specifically pastoral, is to be given to all students without distinction during their philosophy and theology courses. It has three aims:. Practical training. The irreplaceable function of the ministry of the word in the priestly apostolate demands that the future priest shall be thoroughly trained in the theory and practice of the art of speaking. As a necessary part of his training in social communications, also, he should be instructed on the manner in which each of the instruments of social comunication works the so-called "languages" proper to the different media , and its relationship with the "messages" it is expected to transmit, and with the "receptive" characteristics of the various "audiences".

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This will be achieved by methodical lessons, which will be absorbed in greater depth in sessions of critical and comparative analysis of current or recorded programme-types and publications. Furthermore, the students should be given practical, "hands on" exercises, possibly with the help of experts from outside, in the proper use of communications equipment: speaking to microphone, movie camera, or telecamera, with special attention to performance in liturgical ceremonies, interviewing and being interviewed, writing news and feature articles and scripts for radio and television, and composing advertising copy.

Discussion sessions on the merits and faults of the individual performances will be of value. For journalistic practice, advantage should be taken of internal seminary publications, also the local press, whether religious or secular.

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Use should be made of closed circuit television facilities when these happen to be available locally in parish or schools. Seminary publications are to be specially encouraged and, where necessary and possible, subsidized, as they are valuable means of stimulating and exercising the students' creativity. Teaching and pastoral aids. In this practical training in the use of mass media , due attention should be given also to those various other media and techniques of expression and communication which may be regarded as similar or ancillary.

Theatre has pre-eminence among these. Serious efforts should be made to help the future priests understand and appreciate it, both when it is featured in mass media 36 programming, as it frequently is, and when opportunities are provided within the seminary for producing theatrical works and acting in them. These latter activities can contribute greatly towards refining the student's capacity for communicating in a public way, as well as for group work.

There are also, and not to be undervalued, much less ignored, the group media, multimedia, minimedia, and audiovisuals in general, - discs, audio and video-cassettes, photo-slides, small films, - which, with their relatively modest cost and simplicity of operation, have particular advantages in teaching and pastoral work, especially with catechesis and group animation.

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The whole person. To achieve the other two aims of this pastoral training, it will be important not to overlook, at least in their essential points, the various socio-cultural themes: technology, telematics, cultural anthropology, sociology, economics, semiology, linguistics, psychology and pedagogy, etc. At the same time, the religious, moral and pastoral implications of the instruments of social communication should be examined. It will be useful, in fact, to keep always in mind "the whole person", whom the mass media affect both as an individual and as a social being: first as a person, then as a believer and a Christian.

The Church thinks of the promotion of this "whole person's" wellbeing and advancement, especially today, as its proper pastoral task.

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Aptitude for communication. This theoretic and practical formation in the use of the instruments of social communication will certainly be helped forward if there exists in the seminary a favourable climate of communication among the students, and between the students and their teachers, in which it may be integrated. To this end, the following would seem to be required:. This will serve as a corrective to the passivity which can be occasioned by the unidirectional communications and images of the mass media ;. Aids and sources.

The works of the more reputable authors should be put at the disposal of the students, and they should also be provided with relevant bulletins and magazines so that they may keep themselves au fait with the latest thinking and technical development in the communications field. They should be guided in critical discussion about the theses and proposals put forward in this literature, particularly when they are of a kind which can be applied to the ethico-moral behaviour of the faithful and of men in general, and to pastoral practice.

Further, recourse should be had to specialist assistance from outside, and the students should be facilitated for example, on the annual "World Day" which they themselves will prepare and celebrate 40 - in having frequent encounters with people who work in the ecclesiastical Organisms for mass media : diocesan, national and even international that is, UCIP for the printed word, OCIC for Cinema, UNDA for radio and television , and with the workers in these disciplines in their work places.

Courses and examinations. It is advised that this specific pastoral training, at least in part, shall be given incidentally, as occasion arises, and little by little, during instruction on humanistic, sociological, philosophical and theological subjects. However, the discipline may not be considered as merely auxiliary or optional, but during the philosophy and theology courses the lessons and exercises on social communications are to be integrated in organic courses, with examinations at the end.

The candidates. It will be right that "those who already work, or are preparing themselves to work, in communications" and who "show special aptitude and inclination" for this kind of work, shall not content themselves with the pastoral training given to all the seminarians, but shall procure for themselves "in due course one more specialized". Not only those who are preparing themselves for active journalism, or to work in cinema, radio or television, are invited to get themselves such training, but also, in some measure, those who are preparing to teach this discipline, or to direct or collaborate in diocesan or national offices for the social communications media.

To provide the specialist training for such as these, there exist in the different language areas, through the meritorious initiative of Church agencies or of individuals among the faithful, training centres which provide partial or complete courses in social communications techniques. Where these, however, are lacking, or where, because of insufficiency of equipment or qualified staff, existing institutes of the Church are unable to provide what is required, it will be fitting that seminary students, or priests already engaged in the ministry, will prudently seek out other suitable public institutes where they can get a truly professional training.

It is the hope of this Congregation that a clergy trained in this way will effectively benefit "all men of good will He will thus equip himself to be a better educator and guide of souls [ For the more dignified exercise of his office, and to earn the trust and esteem of the people, something that will go a long way to make his pastoral work effective, the priest ought to have that heritage of learning, even learning which is not strictly sacred, commonly possessed by educated people of his time [ Clerics ought not to rest content with what might possibly have sufficed in other times, but should feel under compulsion to reach a standard of culture corresponding in depth and extent to that generally enjoyed by cultured people today in comparison with those of times past.

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O'Connor, to the Italian bishops lst June concerning parochial cinemas:. These initiatives are confirmation of the diligence with which the bishops and clergy are keeping track of the worrying phenomenon of the cinema, which already has got to be a necessity for a great part of the population, and not only for the town-dwellers but also for those who live in little rural centres.

With this end in view, study circles or 'cineforums' have been established in many towns. These ought to be inspired in their activity by the principles of Christian morality and by the norms issuing from the ecclesiastical authority, both in the choice of the films to put on and in the positions taken in discussion. We therefore could not sufficiently praise as apostles of good all those who, according to the possibilities open to them, shall help you in this beneficent work.


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  • So, they would maintain that the young clerics ought to see everything, so that they may accustom themselves to look tranquilly at everything that is to be seen, and in this way harden themselves against oversensitivity to disturbance. They will therefore easily permit them to look at everything that happens under their eyes, without any rules of modesty; to frequent the cinemas, even when there is question of films prohibited by the ecclesiastical monitors; to leaf through any magazine whatever even if it is obscene [ And they concede this because, they contend, the public today already lives on such shows and publications, and whoever wants to help them has got to understand their way of thinking and of looking at things.

    But it is easy to comprehend how mistaken and dangerous it would be to take this way of educating the young cleric and of guiding him to the holiness his state demands. Pietro Ciriaci 16th June , to the Congress of Antwerp lst - 2nd August on the theme "Catechesis for our time" :. There is a similar and today a greater need for 'pastoral updating' - we wish to say: adaptation - in the preaching of the Church the living ecclesiastical Magisterium , just as also there is need for 'pastoral updating' in the modern sciences; and we must say that there is at the present moment a greater need for an 'orientation' of these same modern sciences in so far as they bear upon the religious and moral fields to the Church's official teaching [ In order, then, that, in such conditions, shows of this kind may be able to pursue their proper object, it is essential that the minds and inclinations of the spectators be rightly trained and educated, so that they may not only understand the form proper to each of the arts, but also be guided, especially in this matter, by a right conscience.

    Thus they will be enabled to practise mature consideration and judgment on the various items which the film or television screen puts before them, and not, as very frequently happens, be lured and arbitrarily swept away by the power of their attraction. Provided these plans [ Since a properly dignified presentation of liturgical ceremonies, of the truths of the Catholic Faith, and of events connected with the Church, by means of radio, obviously demands [ This end [ We paternally exhort in particular clerics, and members of religious orders and congregations - to turn their attention to this new art and give their active cooperation, so that whatever benefits the past and true progress have contributed to the mind's development, may be also employed in full measure to the advantage of television.

    We cannot conclude this Letter [ He ought to have a sound knowledge of all questions which confront the souls of Christians with regard to motion pictures, radio and television.