S3E2 – The Church’s Counsel on Media

  • Your co-hosts Ken Hallenius and Bill Schmitt have started the journey through the Catholic Church’s teaching documents relevant to environments of communication. The Second Vatican Council (held from 1962 to 1965) was the first such council at which a document specifically about communication media was promulgated. The primary document we want to consider, Inter Mirifica, issued in 1963, is the council’s Decree on the Media of Social Communications.
  • The concept of “social communications” embodies a big-picture understanding that covers all forms of human interaction and story-telling — plus the content and context of those forms, as well as the impact they have on individuals, societies and the world.
  • The Church affirms that individuals have a right to information, with the stipulation that such information should be true and should be complete “within the bounds of justice and charity.” Rights always entail responsibilities; part of the reasoning for some restraint on access to any and all information about anything is the occasional need to protect reputation and the universal duty to respect human dignity.
  • See this insightful analysis of Inter Mirifica (links to PDF) by Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD, written 50 years after the document was promulgated.
  • The Zenit News Service has a page with a special look back 40 years after the promulgation of Inter Mirifica.

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