The impact of mass media on the development of the Catholic Church, in light of Inter Mirifica in Mitala Maria Parish.
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In Inter Mirifica (1963, No. 1), Vatican Council II recognizes, and preserves with dignity, honour and respect the means of social communication because of the unchangeable purposes they play. Among these include; education, creating communion, advancing information and generating action. In the same regard, the Church welcomes and protects with special interest the means of communication which have a most and direct relation to man’s minds and have uncovered new avenues of communicating news and teachings of every sort. The most important of these include; press, radio, television, internet among others. The 1974 Synod of Bishops in Rome emphasized the use of the modern means of social communication since they are indispensable channels of information, learning and entertainment. Paul VI (1975, No. 45), in Evangelli Nuntiandi added a voice when he taught that: “In our age which is characterized by the mass media we must not fail, to avail ourselves with the media for the first proclamation of the message, for catechetical instruction and for a deeper study of the faith.” However, Paul VI’s (1971 No. 20), Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens and John Paul II’s (1979 No. 46), Catechesi Tradendae cautioned Christians on the misuse of the means of social communication. They appeal to the promoters of the Catholic press, those in charge of Catholic transmissions on radio and television and those who are engaged in any way in form of social communication to give good example of their religious conviction and of their ideal of life. Mitala Maria Parish is not far from this, Chapter one therefore deals with the situation surrounding mass media use in evangelization of Mitala Maria Parish. Factors like poverty, lack of interest and knowledge of what to do, few pastoral workers and less catechetical training have in a way affected the proper use of mass media in the Church’s work of evangelization. Proper and effective use of means of social communication is a sin qua non reality in boosting and promoting of evangelization and catechesis in the Church. When evangelization is boosted and proper catechesis heeded to, then Mitala Maria Parish can experience a reduction in religious syncretism and dualism, register increased number of Church goers, and increase in reception of sacraments among others. It should be a concerted effort by all stake holders in order to register desirable results. In reviewing the literature, in Chapter two, the researcher dealt more on the teaching of Inter Mirifica (Pastoral Instruction on the means of Social Communication) in comparison to other researches conducted and teachings of the Church on the means of Social Communication. In this entire endeavor, the researcher employed questionnaires, direct observation, in-depth interview and document review so as to come up with concrete evidences having taken a sample size of 300 people. In the presentation and analysis of the data, it was seen that 61% of the respondents agreed that inadequate and inappropriate use of mass media has created a negative attitude to the development of the Church. It was realized that the media plays a very vital role to the well being of the society. The proper use of mass media and putting into account the ethical guidelines of its use is a strong pillar for Christian maturity and spiritual nourishment, thus beneficial to the society as well. When mass media is not properly used, it becomes a destructive monster that even disfigures the purpose of God’s creation of man in his own image. (Arch Bishop Cyprian K. Lwanga, 2011). In discussing the findings in Chapter five, and basing on the findings in chapter four in relation with the conceptual frame work, it was found out that actually mass media has not been well utilized in the spread of the gospel thus paralyzing Church development in circles of evangelization. As a matter of fact, this has limited the scope of evangelization and spreading of the gospel to people in their different social, cultural and geographical circles. Consequently, many of them are forced to resort to religious syncretism and dualism due to ignorance and social pressure. (Mitala Maria Parish Pastoral Report, 2010). Having seen all that, the researcher has come up with practical recommendations toward the use of appropriate means of mass media that can fit the social, cultural and economic standards of the people of Mitala Maria Parish. The Church should willingly employ these media to furnish information about itself and to expand the boundaries of evangelization, of catechesis and of information. It is therefore incumbent on experts in our country to have principles and rules that govern the media. (Inter Mirifica No. 23). The Church should also put emphasis on censoring mass media to befit the people in their age bracket and walks of life. Proper and sound catechesis on the use of mass media needs to be done. In the way forward, the entire Christian community of Mitala Maria Parish is called upon to have dignity for mass media. All stake holders should strive for proper use of the media and there should be communal responsibility in the use and maintenance of the media. The researcher concludes with bringing out the connection between the proper use of mass media and the development of the Church specifically Mitala Maria Parish. The researcher affirms that this general objective was attained as well as all other specific ones. This study presentation therefore emphasizes the value of effective and efficacious use of mass media in development of the Church’s apostolic and pastoral activities.