Editor’s note: Today, I’m happy to share a brief excerpt from one of my favorite books on the topic of media and the New Evangelization, Infinite Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in Media. Dr. Gan, a faculty member at Franciscan University was featured in an interview here on CatholicMom.com last year. I’d like to point you to that conversation for more information on Dr. Gan and this wonderful book. Please consider it as a fantastic tool for anyone interested in media, technology and faith issues. LMH
St. Peter’s Seven Media Keys
Like our children, we need a clear guide for how to understand and use media. We all need help navigating our way through this beeping, pinging, ringing, wired world of ours.
And that’s what this book aims to do. It is a guidebook, a road map of sorts, for Catholics in the digital age. It gives you a foundation from which you can evaluate media and a barometer for gauging just how much the Faith informs your use of media. It does that by laying out a set of principles about the relationship between faith and media, principles that should inform our media use, as well as our childrens’ or students’ use. There are seven of these principles, and I call them the seven media keys. The term is mine, the principles are not. Credit for them goes to the Catholic Church.
Over the past seventy-five years, the Church has developed a practical philosophy of social communications upon which Catholics can rely in order to use media well and wisely. When lived, that philosophy enables us to see media for the gift that it is. It also enables us to use media as God intended us to use it—as a means of “contributing to authentic human development and helping individuals and peoples be true to their transcendent destiny.” (Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Ethics in Internet (February 28, 2002), 1. Available at www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/pccs/ (hereafter cited in text as EI).)
So what are the principle elements of this philosophy?
First, the Church calls us to both approach and use media with balance. She also calls us to be aware of the attitudes behind the media we consume and use. She further teaches that all media and all media technology should respect the dignity of the human person; be truth-filled; inspire people towards the good, the true, and the beautiful; be skillfully developed; and be motivated by and rooted in human experience.
These seven principles, or keys, are mentioned again and again in the sixty-plus documents on social communications issued by the Church since 1936. But they’re not neatly enumerated in any one encyclical or conciliar writing, which is why so many of us have missed them. We’ve read the documents, but never connected the dots between them. We’ve grasped some of the philosophy, but not the whole.
Copyright 2012 Dr. Eugene Gan