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Culture and Media
Pope John-Paul II

"The media have conditioned society to listen to what it wants to hear (cf. 2 Tm 4:3). An even worse situation occurs when theologians, and especially moralists, ally themselves with the media, which obviously pay a great deal of attention to what they have to say when it opposes "sound doctrine." Indeed, when the true doctrine is unpopular, it is not right to seek easy popularity." (Crossing the Threshold of Hope, p.172-173)

"Modern civilization, despite undisputed successes in many fields, has also made many mistakes and given rise to many abuses with regard to man, exploiting him in various ways. It is a civilization that constantly equips itself with power structures and structures of oppression, both political and cultural (especially through the media), in order to impose similar mistakes and abuses on all humanity." (p.132-133)

"Therefore, the condemnation of God by man is not based on the truth, but on arrogance, on an underhanded conspiracy. Isn't this the truth about the history of humanity, the truth about our century? In our time the same condemnation has been repeated in many courts of oppressive totalitarian regimes. And isn't it also being repeated in the parliaments of democracies where, for example, laws are regularly passed condemning to death a person not yet born?" (p.65)

"For man, the right to life is the fundamental right. And yet, a part of contemporary culture has wanted to deny that right, turning it into an "uncomfortable" right, one that has to be defended. But there is no other right that so closely affects the very existence of the person!…" (p.204-205)

"Is contemporary man truly moved by a filial fear of God, a fear that is first of all love? One might think-and there is no lack of evidence to this effect-that Hegel's paradigm of the master and the servant is more present in people's consciousness today than is wisdom, whose origin lies in the filial fear of God. The philosophy of arrogance is born of the Hegelian paradigm. The only force capable of effectively counteracting this philosophy is found in the Gospel of Christ, in which the paradigm of master-slave is radically transformed into the paradigm of father-son." (p.227)

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2. In the years since Inter Mirifica and Communio et Progressio appeared, people have grown accustomed to expressions like "information society", "mass media culture", and "media generation". Terms like these underline a remarkable fact: today, much that men and women know and think about life is conditioned by the media; to a considerable extent, human experience itself is an experience of media.

4. …Indeed, the power of media extends to defining not only what people will think but even what they will think about. Reality, for many, is what the media recognize as real; what media do not acknowledge seems of little importance. Thus de facto silence can be imposed upon individuals and groups whom the media ignore; and even the voice of the Gospel can be muted, though not entirely stilled, in this way…

The power of media either to reinforce or override the traditional reference points of religion, culture, and family underlines the continued relevance of the Council's words: "If the media are to be correctly employed, it is essential that all who use them know the principles of the moral order and apply them faithfully in this domain".

14. Certain problems in this regard arise specifically from media policies and structures: for example, the unjust exclusion of some groups and classes from access to the means of communication, the systematic abridgement of the fundamental right to information which is practiced in some places, the widespread domination of media by economic, social, and political elites.

15. …This calls for special national and international efforts, not only to give those who are poor and less powerful access to the information which they need for their individual and social development, but to ensure that they are able to play an effective, responsible role in deciding media content and determining the structures and policies of their national institutions of social communications.

19. Media work involves special psychological pressures and ethical dilemmas. Considering how important a role the media play in forming contemporary culture and shaping the lives of countless individuals and whole societies, it is essential that those professionally involved in secular media and the communications industries approach their responsibilities imbued with high ideals and a commitment to the service of humanity.

33. Communications and Development of Peoples. Accessible point-to-point communications and mass media offer many people a more adequate opportunity to participate in the modern world economy, to experience freedom of expression, and to contribute to the emergence of peace and justice in the world.

"Respect the right to life of human beings from fertilization to natural death."