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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Papal Magisterium on communication available online

Vatican City, 30 September 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the Baragli Project, entitled “The Church and Communication”. The speakers were Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Fr. Franco Lever, professor emeritus of the Faculty of Social Communication Science at the Pontifical Salesian University and consultor of the same Pontifical Council, and Paolo Sparaci, professor at the same university.

“The PCCS is very pleased to support the Baragli Project”, affirmed Archbishop Celli. “The primary function of the PCCS, in accordance with the mandate given to it by Vatican II, is to promote the importance of communications in the life of the Church. Communication is not just another activity of the Church but is at the very essence of its life. … This project is particularly valuable because it brings together, and makes available to a wider public, a long tradition of teaching and reflection by the Church precisely on the centrality of communications”.

“The material themselves are hugely significant as they show how the Church has, throughout its history, sought to engage with the changing means and forms of communication which have shaped culture and human society. This collection enables us to appreciate how the Church’s manner and means of expressing its message have been transformed over the years in order to take account of changes and developments in the dominant forms and technologies of mass communication. … What one sees is a constant effort on the part of the Church to ensure that the Good News of the Gospel is made known to its contemporaries in ways that are culturally appropriate and that fully realise the potentials of new models of communications and developing technologies. The publication of these materials on-line will provide the raw resources which will enable theologians and communications scholars to deepen their reflections on how the Church today should fulfil its responsibility to share its message with all people”.

Fr. Level explained that “'The Church and Communication' is an 'online digital library' [that] gives access to excerpts chosen from over 1,100 documents, translated into various languages, from the first to the twenty-first century; features a 'navigator' which helps to explore available online sources; offers a platform for reading and personal study; and provides an open environment for collaboration. The site is geared towards those interested in the subject, and especially those working in Church educational and formation centres which do not have large libraries”.

“After some years of preparation, the beta version in Italian is going live today and can be found at www.chiesaecomunicazione.com. The purpose is to share what has been put together so far, to gather feedback and to finalize development of the definitive version in the coming months”.

At the same time, he added that 'The Church and Communication' will always be a work in progress with respect to three areas of ongoing development:

“Expanding the archive: not only adding future documents of the Magisterium, but widening the range of documents presented, including those from episcopal conferences (Latin America, Asia, USA, Africa, Europe), together with particularly significant contributions from individual bishops (example, the works of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini in the field); consideration will also be given to documents from the Orthodox Church and the evangelical churches, especially the World Council of Churches and the Anglican Communion”;

“Creating a network of collaborators: an indispensable effort in order to offer translations of documents and background notes, also to discover new sources and evaluate their acquisition and inclusion”; and

“Offering new instruments and methodologies through the IPERNOTE publication platform, which features and tests new technologies which favour the shared reading and study of documents among a community of readers”.

He explained that the idea for this project was inspired by the figure and works of Father Enrico Baragli, SJ, (1908-2001), “a pioneer of the church in Italy with his study of the 'means of social communication'. … The origins for this project go back to 1998 when Father Baragli gave permission to Fr. Franco Lever to use his writings”, he concluded.

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