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Aetatis Novae Rogers Michael

Aetatis Novae is a Pastoral Instruction on Social Communications that was inaugurated on the 20 th Anniversary of Communio et Progressio. Aetatis Novea reflects on the Pastoral implications of the revolutionary technological changes on the fact that today nowhere people are untouched by the impact of media upon religious and moral attitudes, political and social systems and education. It is a reflection by the pontifical Council for Social Communications on the pastoral implications of the Inter Mirifica decree of 1963 and after the two decades of Communio et Progressio. The Council intended to encourage the pastors and the people of the Church to deepen their understanding of issues relating to communications and the media, and to translate their understanding into practical policies and workable programs. The Council appreciates the technological revolutions that have greatly changed the way people perceive and comprehend them. This involves the ever changing speed of transmission of images and ideas locally (in a country) and to the entire world. This leads to positive and negative consequences on peoples psychology, moral and social development. This technological revolution also affects perceptions of the Church and affects its structures. The Council observes that the media is becoming increasing intertwined in peoples daily lives and as a consequence the y influence the people. And they observe that the ever improving media technologies can be used to proclaim the Gospel or to reduce it to silence in human hearts. The Council recognises the power of the media and advocate the correct employment of the media especially those who use them to know the principles of the moral order and use them faithfully. The Council further observes that because of the existing commercial competitions and the political development, these public systems can be misused for purposes of ideological and political manipulation, unregulated commercialisation and privatisation in broadcasting can also have farreaching consequences. This eventually leads to profit, not service, and becomes the most important measure of success. The Pontifical Council still observes that Communio et Progressio is rooted in a vision of communication as a way toward communion. Apart from being avenues of expressing ideas and the indication of emotion, communication is the giving of self in love. In that respect, communication mirrors the Churchs own communion and is capable of contributing to it.

The Church is concerned that the media respect and contribute to the integral development of the person which embraces the cultural, transcendent and religious dimensions of man and society. The expansions of mass media into the world have been so widely felt by the people. It seems that everything is constantly changing from time to time because of the mass media are continuously and rapidly advancing. Aetatis Novae reflects on how far the mass media have reached in terms of communication and evangelisation on the part of the Churchs concern in the dignity of the human person. The Church is concerned with the proper usage of the media and proper education and training and formation of pastoral workers and priests concerning the instruments of communication. The Council confirms that the right to the exercise of freedom of communication is not intended only for those who have wealth, political power and who have good educational background. The right for the exercise of freedom of communications is the right of all. This is because the Church sees the media as gifts of God which in accordance with his providential design, unite men in brotherhood and help people to cooperate with his plan of salvation.

Reference: Franz-Josef Eilers, (1993), Church and Social Communications Basic Documents, Manila, Logos (Divine Word) Publications, Inc