Digital Revolution: On Aetatis Novae

It is a digital revolution. Indeed, upon reading the Pastoral Instruction on Social Communications (Aetatis Novae), I was led into an imagination of people engaging into gadgets: using cellphones now and then while using their personalized computers clicking on the mouse and tapping on keyboards. I imagine such way of life as if everything is digitized. Yet the document seemed to reawaken the conscience of every person in the modern time.

First, I was led into a paradigm shift. By mentioning “rapid revolution”, I imagined how in my early childhood days I was still able to use the typewriter and watch on the betamax, and now I can use an iTouch cellphone and work on a computer. It also reshaped my way of thinking and worldview about the world today in comparison with the world of the past. But since the concern of the Pastoral Instruction was that of the proclamation of the Good News, I realized that I cannot just remain on a worldview, but also be responsible on using these means of social communications, especially in matters of faith. It somehow “commanded” me to witness God’s love by means of digital technology.

I recalled several experiences where I myself engaged in several discussions. I found myself engaging with people from all over the world with different contexts and worldview. As I discussed with them, I realized that some people capitalize on self-consciousness so as to use media in self-expression. Upon seeing this, I feel challenged to be an effective communicator of God’s love to others by a conscientious usage of gadgets. I feel responsible, given that I am a seminarian, to be vigilant in using gadgets.

Moving further, I saw the challenges the Church is facing right now. With the rapid growth of media technology, the Church saw its consequences. Such were the challenges regarding media policies, right to information, and ethics on media. The Church has to make a response. In reading the document’s responses on media technology, I realized how important it is for the Church to inculcate the society’s conscience as they engage in media technology.

But what captivated me the most is how the Church responded to the challenges in practical ways. For me, the Church’s application of principles through the document proved to be astounding. It was astounding because it is like a reawakening of the social and individual conscience on how to be a human person while engaging in media. That is why the urgency for education of the communicators of the faith and morals are all the more encouraged in doing so. Aetatis Novae not only led me to be grounded on principles, but also to reawaken in me the conscience proper to me as a human person amidst this digital revolution. For I believe that there are Saints-in-the-making who experts of media technology yet Jesus lives in them, for they witness the same love which Jesus himself taught.

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Responsible Media: On Inter Mirifica

Upon reading the Council document, I realized how urgent it is for the Catholic Church to instruct the Catholic faithful regarding the sudden emergence of the means of social communications in various forms. It was of “great interest” for the Church to be involved in fostering proper use of these means for the good of humanity, for the Church, and for the Kingdom of God. I felt that as if the Pope, the bishops and cardinals who formulated this document were speaking to me directly, addressing such urgency. By then, I recalled my previous involvements with regard to social communications, and to how I used them according to correct conscience, and in the spirit of true charity.

In my early childhood days, I was trained by my parents on using computers. They instilled the consciousness of the proper use of the computer, especially for studies. They always reminded me that the computer is used for academics and other related matters, and nothing else. As the years passed by, I engaged myself in deepening my understanding of computers, as well as gadgets. I had some lots of magazines way back in high school which I usually purchase at malls every month to keep myself updated on what is new and cool to use. I even save some of my money to purchase these gadgets for my personal use.

Aside from my special interest in using computers, I was involved in the school publication when I was in high school. For three years, I immersed myself into the school organ. During that time, computer use was greatly demanded, especially in the lay-out and arrangement of articles, not to mention communications and exhausting follow-ups to do while typing my papers. Nevertheless, the computer was of great help in the publication of the organ. It helped me spot errors in editing as well as to improve the lay-out of the publication.

That is why, I could relate to what Inter Mirifica called on to the editors of publications, especially their moral responsibilities in what they publish. I, too, felt the same, even now that I take charge of few magazines in the seminary, not to mention the demand of maintenance I have to do with our computers now and then. I felt that I have a responsibility to be vigilant and prudent on the things that get published. I now understand why I am encouraged by my formators and advisers to be vigilant and extra strict on the written materials submitted to me: published materials rapidly spread, and we do not really know where they land, even though we have expressed the intended readers of each publication. A single mistake say, a word or a phrase, would mean catastrophic and may cause certain issues to arise. That is why I have to be patient in editing the publications as encouraged by my formators and advisers.

Indeed, it was the right thing to do. Inter Mirifica has once more reminded me of my commitment to uphold Catholic standards (especially I am a seminarian) with regard to the use of social communications. Inter Mirifica did not come out because the Council Fathers wanted to, but because it is my duty (our duty, as well) as Catholics to spread the Good News of the Lord the most efficient way as possible, and this can be done with the help of social communications. From interpersonal to large groups, Inter Mirifica is a worth reading not only because it is intellectual, but also because there is something we can learn and be in touch. It is something that does not remain on bookshelves, but like Facebook, this document has to be also phenomenal, if only we could convince ourselves to have something as our guide.