Friday, October 8, 2010


ROME, OCTOBER 8, 2010: The Catholic Press Congress organized by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications was held in Rome from October 4 to October 7, 2010. Some six Bishops and two hundred and twenty media professionals from eighty nine countries participated in this conference.

Five Asian Salesians participated at the World Congress of the Catholic Press (WCCP) organized by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (PCCS) in Rome. Three are from India and one each from Thailand and the Philippines. While three Salesians are country delegates, two are doctoral students from the Salesian University Rome’s Social Communications faculty. Among the delegates Fr Plathottam is Media Commission Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India New Delhi, while Fr Fidel and Fr Paradon are from the Philippines and Thailand respectively. The doctoral students at the WCCP are Frs. Anthony Lobo from Mumbai and C.M. Paul from Kolkata.

Among the presenters from Asia is Carol Andrade, editor of Mumbai’s Afternoon Dispatch and Courier. She is part of a five-member panel that will speak on The Catholic Press – Expectations and Hopes. “In India the Catholic press is marginal”, stated Carol Andrade, editor in chief of the Afternoon Dispatch and Courier of Mumbai. In the country, Christians run “universities, colleges, fifteen thousand schools for seven million students” and “help mostly the outcasts”. Yet, “when a nun was stabbed to death because she was trying to help the poor redeem themselves, the news was not covered by the press”. Along with her is also Mr. Jomy Thomas of the Malayala Manorama who participated in this conference.

“We have two hundred and thirty participants registered for this congress,” said pontifical council secretary Monsignor Paul Tighe, explaining how his office invited three persons per country.

Delegates explored issues on effective presence in the digital era, how to report on controversy, whether to give voice to dissent and above all how to rediscover the essential mission of the press to be of service to the Church and community.

Participants were divided regionally to speak regarding their Catholic publications, current challenges and future outlook. Issues discussed included lack of professional writers, decline in the number of Catholic newspapers and the importance of print media among Catholic circles, especially in Asia.

Speaking at the inauguration of the congress on October 4, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications said, “We feel the need to come together at a global level to reflect on the mission, on the role the Catholic press plays in today’s society and in the Church.”

He added: “The main question is not so much how to use the new technologies; rather, the great challenge the Church has to face is how to establish a dialogue with the culture emerging from the new technologies.”

“What are the new opportunities offered to the Catholic press in this age of new media?” Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli asked participants.

In proposing solutions for Church media in the Internet age, Archbishop Celli highlighted the digital divide that the Church lives in various parts of the world. He spoke of meeting global demands by showcasing successful new media ventures by Church communicators.

This is the fourth congress that Archbishop Celli has called together during his four years in office.

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