Benedict XVI warns about the risk of confusing real and virtual, true and false

Source: FSSPX News

Benedict XVI on CNN

On October 7, the pope met with 200 journalists and representatives of episcopal conferences from 85 countries at the close of the first World Catholic Press Conference, organized by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.  At the end of four days of discussions, Benedict XVI denounced the information “spectacle”.

“The quest for the truth” which ought to guide Catholic journalists is particularly important, Benedict XVI maintained, at a time when, “with the development of new technologies, the world of images has an ever greater influence,” to such an extent that “the image can become independent of reality” and “can give birth to a virtual world.”  More precisely, the pope continued, there is a danger of indifference to what is true, for “the new technologies (…) can make the true and the false interchangeable and can lead people to confuse the real with the virtual.”

Noting that, in the media, “the main reason for presenting the event is to evoke emotion” to the detriment of “authentic ways of promoting the human being”, Benedict XVI expressed concern about the fact that “the coverage of an event, whether joyful or sad,” becomes a spectacle and not an occasion for reflection.  In the pope’s view, “these aspects sound the alarm” for “they are an invitation to take into consideration the danger that the virtual may distance people from reality instead of serving as an incentive in the search for the true, for truth.”  “In comparison with any other means of communication, the press evokes more directly the value of the written word.”

Recalling finally that the media must “place God at the top of the scale of values”, Benedict XVI explained that the mission of the Catholic press is “to help contemporary men and women turn to Christ, the one Saviour, and to keep the torch of hope alight in the world, in order to live a dignified life today and to build a positive future.  That is why Catholic journalists must constantly have their connection with Christ at heart, in whom are found those spiritual resources that the world underrates although they are indispensable.”