Church Morally Responsible For SocMedia Use, CBCP Exec Says

Rev. Fr. Joselito Jopson during Day 1 of the 2nd SocComm Nova Communications Camp held in La Mesa Ecopark. (Photo credit: Adrian Manangan)

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Social Communications (CBCP-ECSC) Executive Secretary Rev. Fr. Joselito Jopson highlighted the moral responsibility of the Church and its Media to ensure the proper and upright use of Social Communications in positively shaping beliefs and changing lives.

Speaking before participants of the 2nd SocComm Nova Communications Camp held May 5, 2018 at the Ipil Pavilion of La Mesa Ecopark in Quezon City, Fr. Jopson gave an overview of the papal encyclicals and exhortations on Social Communications.

“As Church Media, we are expected to tell the truth at all times,” said the TV Maria Board of Trustee member before quoting from the decree Inter Mirifica. “The principle moral responsibility for the proper use of the media of Social Communication falls on newsmen, writers, actors, designers, producers, displayers, distributors, operators and sellers, as well as critics and all others who play any part in the production and transmission of mass presentations.”

He stressed that, over the years, the Church has consistently explored all possibilities and faced challenges that led to its realization that it should be present and active in Social Communication.

A mainstay anchor of Radio Veritas, Fr. Jopson told his audience–composed of SocComm Coordinators and members in the Diocese of Novaliches–that this moral responsibility lies in their shoulders.

“What gravely important responsibilities they have in the present day when they are in a position to lead the human race to good or to evil by informing or arousing mankind,” he impressed upon them, quoting from the Decree.

Dwelling extensively on Inter Mirifica, which he said is the Church’s Magna Carta for Social Communications, he said this decree from Vatican II in 1963 was promulgated by Pope Paul VI who pinpointed Church Media as a driving force in the promulgation of “teachings of the Catholic Church and advocate truth and goodness.”

“As church Media, do we just tell people, magdasal tayo, and ‘this is the Gospel for today,’ or do we also tell them the truth and give information on what is really happening?” he asked, then issued this challenge, “Are you ready to always tell the truth in the midst of trolls?”

The encyclical, he said, pushes for appropriate training among volunteers and practitioners for the apostolic use of Media for better evangelization.

“Training should not just be technical but it must include a complete moral formation where you get to learn the doctrines of the Church,” he said.

“There should be self-regulation and professionalize our media practice,” he added. “We should have Media education or literacy as well as pastoral and specialist training.”

Fr. Jopson revealed encyclicals and exhortations that followed Inter Mirifica and the latest to impact the field of Social Communications is the Internet. The World Communications Day message of 2002 tackled it as, “A New Forum for Proclaiming the Gospel.”

In conclusion, he emphasized that communication tools may have improved and innovations continue but the moral responsibility of the Church and its media remains to be the key to the positive use and success of Social Media.

The 2nd SocComm Nova Communications Camp is a yearly activity of the Social Communications and Media Ministry of the Diocese of Novaliches that focuses on their technical and spiritual formation. SocComm Nova Director Rev. Fr. Ambrosio Nonato Legaspi led the two-day event as one of the speakers. Others who shared their knowledge and expertise include experts from Radio Veritas, TV Maria and Trapik.Com. (~Lulu Reclusado-Nario)