Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
June 1, 2009
Vatican ready to explain teachings
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
LONDON — Recent Vatican communications controversies have shown that it must explain its teachings more convincingly through new media, the Vatican’s spokesman said.
“In a world such as ours, we would be deluding ourselves if we thought that communication can always be carefully controlled, or that it can always be conducted smoothly and as a matter of course,” Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said in a lecture May 18 at the Westminster seminary in London.
Lombardi said that, like any great institution today, the Catholic Church is going to come in for frequent criticism.
Thanks in large part to the Internet, the “chorus of voices” in such debates is larger and more diverse, he said.
The Church’s strategy should be to enunciate its positions, evaluate criticism, and then give a clearer and more penetrating response, he said.
“It is a mistake to think that we ought to avoid debate. We must always seek to conduct debate in a way that leads to a better understanding of the Church’s position — and we must never get discouraged.”
Lombardi cited three of Pope Benedict’s actions that have drawn what he called “sensational” media-driven criticism:
The Vatican spokesman said that in each case the criticism had provoked some “real hard thinking” and additional Vatican responses.
- His speech on Islam in Regensburg, Germany, in 2006;
- His lifting of the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson, who had denied the extent of the Holocaust;
- His more recent comment that condom distribution is not an effective way to stop the spread of AIDS.
Although these responses arrived rather late, he said, they were serious, penetrating and well-argued, and in the end enriched the public discussion.
Lombardi said it’s inevitable that the Church’s message will sometimes be misunderstood, distorted or rejected by an increasingly secular world.