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Reflections: Catholic Links Sctn. (Mdrn.Tech.)


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Catholic Links Section:

On Modern Technology

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On Modern Technology



On Modern Technology

" The Church...[believes] that its task involves employing the means of social communication to announce the good news of salvation and to teach men how to use them properly." (Second Vatican Council)

"Whether we are young or old, let us rise to the challenge of new discoveries and technologies by bringing to them a moral vision rooted in our religious faith, in our respect for the human person, and our commitment to transform the world in accordance with God's plan." (Pope John Paul II)

"It was for God's faithful people to make creative use of the new discoveries and technologies for the benefit of humanity and the fulfillment of God's plan for the world. This recognition of rapid change and this openness to new developments have proved timely in the years that followed, for the pace of changes and development has continued to accelerate. Today, for example, one no longer thinks or speaks of social communications as mere instruments or technologies. Rather they are now seen as part of a still unfolding culture whose full implications are as yet imperfectly understood and whose potentialities remain for the moment only partially exploited." (Pope John Paul II)

"[L]et us pray for wisdom in using the potential of the 'computer age' to serve man's human and transcendent calling, and thus give glory to the Father from whom all good things come." (Pope John Paul II)

"Brought to almost complete perfection by new inventions, wireless telegraphy brings outstanding advantages to technical processes, since, by means of a ray, pilotless machines may be directed to a determined place. But We rightly think that the most excellent function which falls to Radio is this: to enlighten and instruct men, and to direct their minds and hearts towards higher and spiritual things." (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957)

"[W]hile We ponder to what extent Radio can assist the work of the sacred ministry, and while We are moved strongly by the command of our Divine Redeemer, 'Going into the whole world, preach the Gospel to every creature', We feel We must exhort you paternally, Venerable Brethren, to strive - according to the need and resources of your respective localities - to increase in number and make more effective programs dealing with Catholic affairs." (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957)

"Similarly, it is to be hoped that these new arts of publicity, whether exercised by private citizens or controlled by rulers of states, will not spread doctrines while suppressing all mention of God's name and taking no account of His divine law." (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957)

"The media of social communication can contribute a great deal to human unity. If, however, men's minds and hearts are ill disposed, if good will is not there, this outpouring of technology may produce an opposite effect so that there is less understanding and more discord and, as a result, evils are multiplied. Too often, we have to watch social communications used to contradict or corrupt the fundamental values of human life." (Pope Paul VI)

"Here is a matter for which immediate provision is absolutely necessary: we must ensure that all progress made, by God's favor, both in human knowledge and in technical skill, shall in practice so serve God's glory, the salvation of souls and the extension of Christ's kingdom, that we all, as the Church bids us pray, may so pass through temporal goods that we may not lose what is eternal." (Pope Pius XI)

"But We earnestly desire, Venerable Brethren, that these technical instruments, by which eyes and ears are easily and pleasantly attracted to events happening far away, should be employed to a particular end, namely, to provide men with a broader cultural background in the knowledge necessary for the fulfillment of their duties, and above all, in Christian principles. If these principles are neglected, there can be no progress worthy of the name, even in merely human matters. We desire, therefore, to pay due tribute of praise to all those who, whether by films or sound broadcasting or television shows, direct their efforts towards this most honorable goal." (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957)

"For We think that, then only can these new arts make their proper and natural contribution to the right fashioning of the minds of those who use them, if the Church, the State, and those engaged in these professions, pooling their resources in an orderly way, cooperate with each other to secure the desired end; if the opposite happens, i.e. if these arts, without set laws or any moral safeguards, embark on a downward and uninhibited path, they will certainly restrict the people's true development and weaken their morals." (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957)

"The progress of exterior and material possessions, even though it is to be considered of no little account, because of the manifold and appreciable utility which it gives to life, is nonetheless not enough for man who is born for higher and brighter destinies. Created indeed to the image and likeness of God, he seeks God with a yearning that will not be repressed and always groans and weeps if he places the object of his love where Supreme Truth and the Infinite Good cannot be found." (Pope Pius XII, "Sertum Laetitiae", 1939)

"We affirm once again that the Church 'sees these media as 'gifts of God,' which in accordance with his providential design unite men in brotherhood and so help them to cooperate with his plan for their salvation.' As the Spirit helped the prophets of old to see the divine plan in the signs of their times, so today the Spirit helps the Church interpret the signs of our times and carry out its prophetic tasks, among which the study, evaluation and right use of communications technology and the media of social communications are now fundamental." (Pope John Paul II)

"The swift advances of the means of social communication tear down the barriers that time and space have erected between men. They can make for greater understanding and closer unity. A mass of information is continually on the move to and from all parts of the world, as a result, men can learn what goes on and how other men live. Teaching at all levels has benefited by the use of these aids. These media play their part in eliminating illiteracy and in providing both basic and further education. They can, very effectively, help people in developing countries to achieve progress and freedom. They can establish a measure of universal equality in which all men, whatever their place in society can enjoy the delights of culture and leisure. They enrich men's minds. They help them to keep in touch with reality by providing the sights and sounds which are the very stuff of life. They bring far away times and places within their grasp." (Pope Paul VI)

"Consequently true human liberty demands that we use, and share with others, all these resources which can contribute to the strengthening and perfecting of our nature... Indeed, all true and active sons of the Church, since they recognize the priceless gift of the Redemption, are bidden to ensure, to the extent of their power, that the Church may use these technical discoveries in so far as they may assist the sanctification of souls... And further, let it be permitted even to individual citizens - due regard being paid to actual circumstances and the safeguarding of principles which promote the common good - to contribute according to their capacity to the enriching and development of their own and others' intellectual and spiritual culture." (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957)

"For as We said recently, 'how great is the advantage enjoyed, how great the responsibility laid on men of the present day, and how great the changes from times gone by when instruction in truth, commandments of brotherly love, promises of everlasting happiness, came slowly to men through the Apostles, treading the rough paths of that former age; whereas, in our day, the divine message can be conveyed to tens and hundreds of thousands of men at one and the some time'... Everyone knows what a great contribution good radio programs can make to sound education; yet from the use of this instrument there arises an obligation in conscience as in the other technical arts, since it can be employed to achieve good or evil. Those words, then, written in Scripture, can be applied to the art of Radio: 'By it we bless God and the Father ; and by it we curse men, who are made after the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing'. [Iac. III, 9-10]" (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957)

"Man's genius has with God's help produced marvelous technical inventions from creation, especially in our times. The Church, our mother, is particularly interested in those which directly touch man's spirit and which have opened up new avenues of easy communication of all kinds of news, of ideas and orientations. Chief among them are those means of communication which of their nature can reach and influence not merely single individuals but the very masses and even the whole of human society... The Church, our mother, knows that if these media are properly used they can be of considerable benefit to mankind. They contribute greatly to the enlargement and enrichment of men's minds and to the propagation and consolidation of the kingdom of God. But the Church also knows that man can use them in ways that are contrary to the Creator's design and damaging to himself. Indeed, she grieves with a mother's sorrow at the harm all too often inflicted on society by their misuse." (Second Vatican Council) 

"But even as the Church takes a positive, sympathetic approach to media, seeking to enter into the culture created by modern communications in order to evangelize effectively, it is necessary at the very same time that the Church offer a critical evaluation of mass media and their impact upon culture. As we have said repeatedly, communications technology is a marvelous expression of human genius, and the media confer innumerable benefits upon society. But as we have also pointed out, the application of communications technology has been a mixed blessing, and its use for good purposes requires sound values and wise choices on the part of individuals, the private sector, governments and society as a whole. The Church does not presume to dictate these decisions and choices, but it does seek to be of help by indicating ethical and moral criteria which are relevant to the process - criteria which are to be found in both human and Christian values." (Pope John Paul II)

Also Try: Employing Means of Communication for the Benefit of the Faith | Heavenly Patron of Modern Communications Instruments | Obligation of Catholics to Support the Media | Social Communication | Catholic News Links Reflections | Current Issues Reflections

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