Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Broader Approach to Communication

These basic considerations need still a further dimension to show that communication education
is not only about Mass Media but needs a much broader approach which includes especially also
the cultural dimension. The Second Vatican Council was the first Catholic Church assembly of
that level which issued a document on “Social Communication,” Inter Mirifica.

The expression Social Communication was proposed by the preparatory commission for the
document in saying that expressions like Mass Media, Media of Diffusion, Audio-visual means
and similar would not be sufficient to express what the Church is concerned about. This proposal
was accepted and became the standard expression in the Catholic Church but it was later adapted by secular communication institutions especially in Latin America.

Social Communication refers, beyond mass media, to all means and ways of communication in
and of human society. It includes communication through traditional means like storytelling,
dance, theater, music etc. as well as the modern means. It covers the whole range of human
communication in society and thus creates a special challenge also for the communication
education in seminaries.

Future Christian ministers must be open and possibly be trained in the proper application of
communication means and methods which are part of our cultures. Many times, especially in
rural areas, this communication is still more effective than modern technical means because it
includes the direct personal involvement of the communicating parties. Such an awareness and
support of traditional communication can also help to mitigate or even integrate possible negative effects of globalization especially on young people.

Christian faith has to be contextualized and inculturated which is not done necessarily with the
modern means. This broader approach to communication, however, which gives equal ‘right’ to
the basics of human communication and the traditional means of communication leads towards

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