Mass Media Spirituality. The Use of Media in the Church

Essay, 2011

15 Pages, Grade: 94


Every one of us has a mental picture of what the world of ours is like. Our forefathers shaped this
mental image from their personal experience and education. Today the media teaches what the
world outside is like. Various types of drama in numerous cultures were probably the first mass-
media. The mass media have an important role in modern democratic society as the main channel of
communication. The population relies on the news media as the main source of information and the
basis on which they form their opinions. Any selection of messages in the mass media will have a
profound effect on the entire society. Press, radio, cinema, television and internet are today shaping
the destinies of humanity. Mass media and the proclamation of the word of God are very closely
related. The word of God is the basis of our religious revelation. This word is not a dead end but is
to be communicated. Changing times demand changing mode of communication. Therefore it is
imperative that the word of God is communicated through modern media that it reaches everyone
and be useful for his salvation. This paper is an attempt to study the usage of mass media in the
ministry of the word of God.
Communication has a great impact on the lives of the people because everyone has television and
internet as the main means of entertainment. It's a great challenge for the Church today to use mass
media to attract the people with the present tools of communication. Church has made a great
highway in communication. What the Vatican speaks to the people is communicated in a moment
by the concerned authorities. Everybody gets the right hand information through internet media
which is the fastest of all. The scriptural passages are messaged by good souls to friends in order to
remind them of the daily readings and some ejaculatory prayers. However, the Church and the
people of God have made the best use of the mass media and communication available in the world
today. But it's a pity that the secular world has drastically come on these innocent souls and is
attracting these people with the world's electronic gadgets, comforts, entertainment for quick and
satisfying fast life. Due to which people are caught up in the understanding of good and bad. Bad
and evil is become part of the culture. The ethics and morality of the world is deteriorating, the
values that the world had a few years ago now can no more hold on to them. Altars and prayer
rooms are replaced with electronic gadgets and prayer rooms are made entertaining rooms. Spiritual
values are replaced with material and worldly satisfying values. In this article I will be dealing with
some of the aspects of the mass media and its spirituality.

1. Mass Media
Mass Media is those means of communication that reach and influence large number of people.
"What the media communicate is meanings and meaning. These meanings, for better and worse,
infiltrate our souls."
It refers to those media that are created to be consumed by immense number
of population worldwide and also a direct contemporary instrument of mass communication. Mass
Media is considered as the fourth estate of the society as well. It is the fourth branch of the
government and the voice and weapon of the people and the society as a whole. It goes along with
Information and Communication Technology in this day and age, so as to mould a new-fangled way
of life to the majority living in this global generation.
Then again, by and large when we speak about Mass Media, we immediately perceive that these are
communication media that reach the mass of people. From Audio recording and reproduction like
records, tapes, cassettes, cartridges, CDs, to Broadcasting Media such as Radio, Television, Cable,
to Film or Motion Pictures whether in Cinema or in DVDs, and the Digital Media, the Internet,
Mobile Phones, Satellite, and ultimately the Publishing or Print Media which includes Books,
Newspapers, Magazines and the marvelous Video games.
1.1. Various purposes and Functions of Mass Media
Mass Media has got several functions as well as some purposes by the very fact it is the media of
communicating something to someone.
1.1.1. The Functions and Language of Mass Media
Mass Media besides giving information draws attention to various realities, events and situations.
"They make their readers and viewers aware of the situations, realities and values underlying them
and offer comments on them. Though at times they do not offer facts and data neutrally, yet they
Terrence Tilley, Narrative and Communication Theology in a Post-Literate Culture, In: Catholic International,
November 2001, p.5-11.
Cfr. Desmond A. D'Abero: The Mass Media and You. Mumbai: St. Paul's Publications, 1997, p. 13.
Franz-Josef Eilers: Communicating in Community. Indore: Divine Publications, 1994, p.51.

can also be used to motivate their audience. They play a vital role to influence the people's
behaviour, attitudes and values."
Lonergan's analysis could easily be extended to note that effective communication constitutes
social selves, that is, individuals as members of communities which constitute them and
communities as networks of relationships constitutes by common meaning which individuals share.
Heidegger and Wittgenstein and their followers have made commonplace the insights these
philosophers have won: Language is not merely descriptive, but constitutive and performative.
When we learn a language we learn a world. ""The languages in which we learn to communicate,
the ways in which we learn to use what our shared tongues give us, the patterns and images we
discern and create in our communication all simultaneously give us a distinctive world."
1.1.2. The purpose of Mass Media
The purposes are to advocacy, both for business and social concerns which includes advertising,
marketing, propaganda, public relation and political communication.
Mass media is also used for
the enrichment and education. Mass media plays a vital role in the field of entertainment.
Traditionally it is done through the performances of acting, music, and sports, along with light
reading. Since the late 20th century, it is done also through video and computer games and for the
public service amusements and announcements.
1.2. Different types of Mass Media
Though there are different kinds of media, the important media can be classified as Electronic
media or broadcasting media, Print media, and Folk media.
1.2.1. Electronic Media or Broadcasting Media
It consists of radio, television, film, computer, internet, mobile, audio, video and satellites.
Gaston Roberrge: Mass Communication and Man. Allahabad: st. Paul Publications, 1977, p. 20.
Terrence Tilley, Narrative and Communication Theology in a Post-Literate Culture, In: Catholic International,
November 2001, p.5.
Desmond A. D'Abero, p. 17.

5 The Radio
It is found in offices and even class rooms, shops and roadside kiosks which have a place for them
on their shelves.
The voices that come from this radio in speech and music are heard all the day
long and even at night. The radio is still a very important medium for many people, especially in the
third world. The radio has been delivering the latest news events over the airwaves.
Radio can go
to the beaches, the parks, the patio and automobiles. It has become a companion to the individual
instead of remaining a focal point of all family entertainment. In most homes, a radio is on almost
all day, providing background to whatever activity is taking place in the house. Listeners use radio
as a secondary activity to accompany the work or play of the moment. The radio will usually be
there to report any event of importance, be local, national or international. The radio is to serve and
survive. It must hold a mirror to the nation and to the world. Besides news, the radio provides us
with great fund of information and entertainment. We can learn from the radio about various
subjects, ranging from History to Botany, from sewing to cooking, from mechanics to electronics.
We can listen to plays, poetry, literature, biographies and stories. We can listen to all kinds of
music, catering to every taste. Radio can be a useful and delightful constant companion. Television
The newest of our news-disseminating media is the television, which has become an inseparable
part of life even in the country side. In fact, with the help of this state-of-the-art electronic
equipment, television today does most of the things radio cannot do, besides many others.
We can
see and hear many events occurring as there is less need in television for commentary and
description. Television serves the purposes of education and entertainment. We learn about atomic
physics, can see diagrams, pictures, charts and other visual aids which help us to grasp the subject
far more easily. We can watch great plays, operas, ballet, street theater, dramatic displays, games
and matches that are taking place thousands of miles away, can listen to music, ranging from
classical to rock concerts and feel with the crowds who are participating in these concerts the thrill
Ibid., p.41.
Jacob Srampickal: Communication and Media in India Today. Ghaziabad: Media House, 1988, p.67.
Ibid., p. 153.
Stewart M. Hoover: Mass Media Religion. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1988, p.20.

of seeing the music being created live.
Television provides a fuller and more impressive
converge of current events than any other media. Film
The films entertain us and also provide role models. They reflect our society and influence the way
in which we perceive the world. People consider cinema as an entertainment and a way to relax.
Real communication takes place by the fact that the film director sends a message to the viewers
who are the receivers. It can educate and even mesmerize people. The medium that best exemplifies
the influence of society, culture and mores on mass media is film.
12 Computer
It is a machine that processes information. It also communicates with humans and with other
computers. Through the computer, we can create a world in which we can act and react. Computer
these days has become user's friend and part of human living.
13 Other Electronic Media
Video, satellites, internet, mobile and audio are the other electronic media. By video and audio one
can record everything and keep the record of it. We can watch whenever we want to know
something about the recorded matter. It is through the Satellites that the television programs are
telecasted and the telephone services work. Internet is to know the news on the spot and to have
easy contacts to far away people. Mobile is an electronic device through which we can contact
many people, hear songs, watch movie and send messages to different people and friends.
are some of the new Media, which have developed reasonably by which the people are more
influenced and by which they come to know a lot of things and learn the happening of the world.
Franz- Josef Eilers, p. 135.
Jacob Srampickal, p. 169.
J. Patmury: "Christian Communicative Presence in the Modern Media Environment." In: Creative ministries:
Exploring New Frontiers in Mission / Joseph Mattam & Philomena Parackal (eds.). Mumbai: St.Paul's Publications,
2004, P. 119.
Ibid., P.125.
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Mass Media Spirituality. The Use of Media in the Church
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Albert Fernandes (Author), 2011, Mass Media Spirituality. The Use of Media in the Church, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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