VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Communications technology keeps changing, but the need to deliver a message with truth and charity is never obsolete, said Italian Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli.
As president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Celli presided over a four-day meeting of cardinals, bishops and Catholic media professionals to discuss -- mainly in small groups -- new pastoral guidelines for church communications.
A recurring theme during the meeting Oct. 26-29 was what constitutes Catholic communications and what, if anything, can be done about those who use the word Catholic to describe themselves while using all sorts of nasty adjectives to describe anyone who doesn't agree with them.
Archbishop Celli said he didn't think a Catholic bloggers' "code of conduct" would accomplish much, especially when what is really needed is a reflection on what it means to communicate.
Upright, ethical communication is a natural result of a sincere desire to share the truth about God, about faith and about the dignity of the human person, he said.
The archbishop said that what Pope Benedict XVI has said about solidarity and development aid goes for communications as well: "Charity needs truth and truth needs charity."
"Anyone speaking publicly as a Catholic has to have those ethical values that are part of a serious, honest form of communication," Archbishop Celli said.
"In the past, the church's educational efforts included helping people decide what they should or should not watch. Now it must also help them decide what they should or should not produce" and put on the Internet, he said.
What I think they're trying to say is that we should not use false or inflammatory... or uncharitable kinds of rhetoric and language in what we produce online. I know of many Catholic bloggers and online personality who have struggled with the task of not only tempering their own uncharitable thoughts and words, but also often having to deal with the uncharitable (and often scathing) words of commenters and social media friends/followers.
How are we spreading the Gospel through our work? And are we doing it for Christ, or for our own good/needs/desires/wants?