The Clergy and the Mass Media

Manila Bulletin, May 10, 2005 | Go to article overview

The Clergy and the Mass Media


HIS Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has taken a distinct cognizance of the power and influence being wielded by mass media at the Vatican. Noting that last Sunday was the commemoration of the world day of social communications, the Pope said mass media could serve as a double-edged sword that could both serve the ends of what is good and what could be evil. The Pope called on members of mass media to exercise "personal responsibility," and "ethical responsibilities" to come up with objective reports that respect human dignity, safeguard truth and pay attention to the common good.

It is a fitting and timely call to the global mass media. After all, it is a call echoed by the highest ranking clergy of the Roman Catholic Church in general sweeping terms. But I was wondering what His Holiness will say on the state of our local media and local church officials being covered by mass media in an entirely different scenario? Or how mass media is being used to the hilt for some undetermined motivations by our local church leaders.

Like how come some of our revered bishops led by Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz clamor for the ouster of President Gloria, blaming her administration on the supposed proliferation of "jueteng." Or how come Bishop Cruzs group, who are mostly bishops and church leaders themselves, continue to relish mass medias coverage of their "anti-jueteng" barrage, call for an ouster of a democratically elected President rather than use their "ascendancy" as church leaders over this predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

On local mass media concerns, we are yet to achieve a breakthrough that could solve the killings of 35 journalists since the year 2000. Definitely, it is inappropriate to preach anything personal or ethical responsibility to any mass media practitioner dead or living, given these unsolved cases. But I am sure that police and security authorities are doing what they are supposed to do to solve all these killings.

Riding on the crest of the "poor peoples pent up emotions," Bishop Cruz some say he either may have begin to think he could play a role in yet another EDSA and ridiculously jumped into politics, while others say he maybe just trying too hard to win a stature and influence equal to Cardinal Jaime Sin called for the removal of the President on the premise that "jueteng" bred corruption under her watch. He cited "jueteng" or the numbers game prevalent among rural areas as the main reason for his call. …

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