WASHINGTON (May 18, 2001) -- The Renewing the Mind of the Media Pledge Campaign, designed to encourage those in the media to act responsibly, is set for the weekend of May 19-20 in Catholic parishes in 150 dioceses nationwide.
"We, the Catholic people of the United States, united in our families, parishes, and dioceses, pledge to work together to encourage those responsible for the media we use each day to carry out their service responsibly and to eliminate that which diminishes our appreciation of God's image in creation," the pledge says, in part.
"The media are not beyond the reach of our influence," says an introduction to the pledge.
The effort in 2001 marks the second of a five-year pledge campaign approved by the nation's Bishops last year. The first pledge weekend, taken in conjunction with the Jubilee Days for Cinema, Theater and Entertainment, was December 16-17. This year and in subsequent years, the pledge is set for the third Sunday in May to coincide with the U.S. celebration of World Communications Day.
Parishes in 131 dioceses participated in 2000.
The Campaign implements a pastoral statement of the same name approved by the Bishops in 1998 which calls on all segments of society--from parents to government to the entertainment industry itself--to take action to overcome the widespread and pervasive exploitation of sex and violence in all forms of communications, including the Internet.
Catholics are asked to support the Campaign, and ultimately a responsible news and entertainment industry, by signing the pledge and returning it to their parishes. Anyone may sign the pledge electronically on the Renewing the Mind of the Media Web page at www.renewingmedia.org.
"Pornography, excessive violence, and other irresponsible uses of sex and violence in the media gravely harm the moral and psychological health of both society as a whole and its individual members--children and adults," the Bishops said in their statement. "Even people who do not consume a great deal of media are well aware that they live in a society whose environment and values are affected by media influence, for good or ill, and they can be affected themselves, even indirectly."
The statement said that, while the influence of film and television has been subjected to much criticism in the past, today many other forms of media also influence young people and adults to engage in morally and socially destructive forms of behavior.
The campaign for 2001 includes eight actions or attitudes from which Catholics may choose to carry out the pledge practically. Among those are talking with family members about their use of media, trading an hour of media consumption each week for an extra hour in prayer, and seeking out media that explore faith and spiritual issues.
In addition to the pledge campaign, the U.S. Catholic Conference Communications Department has developed an overview brochure of the Renewing statement and a 12-minute video, which is intended to serve as a discussion starter for parish groups. In addition to signing the pledge electronically at the Renewing the Mind of the Media Web page, visitors can find the text of the statement in both English and Spanish and view excerpts of the video.