ITALY: CEI ASSEMBLY, MASS MEDIA AND THE RISK OF "PRACTICAL NIHILISM"

The current mass media context "marked by the digital language which permeates our culture in all its forms of expression" is a "new" context which represents "a challenge as well as an opportunity for the Christian proclamation". This certainty is expressed by the Italian bishops in the final statement released at the end of their 60th Assembly. The virtual world is seen both as "a challenge", for the "mainstream culture promotes forms of practical nihilism in which the media are not neutral purveyors of information but contribute to promoting a mentality which is based more on the intensity of feelings, on pathos, than on common good, on the logos", and as "an opportunity", for the Church itself can make use of the richness of its language which is both symbolic and paradoxical". "Using the symbol – reads the statement – the Church can escape the confines of a boring and repetitive immanence. Using the paradox, word and life are not separated and from their intrinsic unity the Church can derive its legitimacy and authoritativeness". The current mass media context was outlined during the last Episcopal Assembly by Chiara Giaccardi, from the Catholic University of Milan. Her speech was "widely applauded". The Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) has another important meeting on the agenda "Digital witnesses: faces and languages in the hyper-medial age" to be held in Rome from 22 to 24 April 2010.

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