Pages

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Golden Jubilee of Inter Mirifica

Sorry, 'Oly Father, the electromatic Ordo generator will not work properly now
because you 'ave abolished most of the commemorations and the octaves.

On 4 December 1963, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium was promulgated. Everybody is remembering that, so I decided in a contrarian moment to home in on the other document that was promulgated on the same day by Pope Paul VI, the Decree on the Media of Social Communications Inter Mirifica which I have mentioned in talks over the last couple of years. N.15 of this document said:
All the children of the Church should join, without delay and with the greatest effort in a common work to make effective use of the media of social communication in various apostolic endeavours, as circumstances and conditions demand. They should anticipate harmful developments, especially in regions where more urgent efforts to advance morality and religion are needed.
The first disk storage drive was produced in 1962, so computers were still in their infancy. The internet was some years off - it would be nearly twenty years before the network would be widely used by people at home.

Nevertheless, the principle that the Council set out is as relevant today as it was then: all the children of the Church should used the media of social communication effectively in the apostolate. A cultural difference is that at the time of the Council it was appropriate to speak in ponderous terms of offering technical training to laymen and the increase of school facilities and institutes for people to offer this “sound training.”

Nowadays any teenager with a smartphone can set up a blog or a twitter account in five minutes and broadcast his words of wisdom to the world. This ought to make it easier for us to evangelise and to support one another in the faith.

There is a "hermeneutic of continuity" aspect to Inter Mirifica; it continued in the tradition of the Church which has always tried to use the latest technology for the spread of the gospel. Binding pages together in codices was a great help, movable type transformed everything, and radio was enthusiastically taken up by the Holy See.

At the beginning of the delightfully titled encyclical Miranda Prorsus of 1957 Pope Pius XII set out a fundamental principle which again applies to inventions he would not have imagined:
Those very remarkable technical inventions which are the boast of the men of our generation, though they spring from human intelligence and industry, are nevertheless the gifts of God, Our Creator, from Whom all good gifts proceed: "for He has not only brought forth creatures, but sustains and fosters them once created".
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...