Use media vs. secularism, priests urged

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MANILA, March 6, 2015—Provided it is used properly, a Catholic clergyman sees modern technology as an efficient weapon the Church—clergy and laity alike—can exploit in spreading the Gospel, as well as in stemming the tide of mounting secularism.

The Vatican II document “Inter mirifica" urges the religious and the clergy to instruct and guide the faithful in matters of the faith using media. (Photo: CBCP News)

In a recent interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas, Fr. Jerome R. Secillano, parish priest of Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Parish in Sampaloc, Manila underlined the indispensable role social media and other communication tools play in making Catholic Social Teaching (CST) more accessible to the faithful.

New ways, old teaching

While conventional preaching is still important, the priest believes clerics must explore new ways of bringing the Good News to people.

“Preaching should not be only inside churches. We must also take advantage of available technology and modes of communication. This is what New Evangelization is all about: new methodologies,” he shared.

Reaching out

Secillano, who also serves as executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (PCPA), said it is high time the Church in the Philippines redoubles her efforts in reaching out to as many communities as possible, particularly of people who have been influenced by secularism.

The 2013 Young Adult Fertility Study (YAFS 4) shows as many as 32 percent of young Filipinos aged 15-24 have engaged in sex before marriage, a rise of 23 percent a decade ago.

Moreover, around 2.4 million were cohabiting as of 2004, most of whom are 20-24 years old.

Church as teacher

According to him, the Church must reassert her God-given right to teach and instruct the faithful, and must never be complacent in this matter.

“Inter mirifica,” the “Decree on the Media of Social Communications” of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), reads: “It is the duty of Pastors to instruct and guide the faithful so that they, with the help of these same media, may further the salvation and perfection of themselves and of the entire human family. In addition, the laity especially must strive to instill a human and Christian spirit into these media, so that they may fully measure up to the great expectations of mankind and to God’s design” (3).

Wonders of media

In its opening lines, the Vatican II document acknowledges the “wonderful technological discoveries which men of talent, especially in the present era, have made with God’s help …. those which have a most direct relation to men’s minds and which have uncovered new avenues of communicating most readily news, views and teachings of every sort.”

It stresses, “The most important of these inventions are those media which, such as the press, movies, radio, television and the like, can, of their very nature, reach and influence, not only individuals, but the very masses and the whole of human society, and thus can rightly be called the media of social communication.” (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)


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