The media are always with us. Today 89 percent of American children live in homes with more than one television set, and the average home has 62 cable channels. Half of U.S. households now have computers, and 30 percent have Internet access. The media comprise more than television and the Internet, though. The media are present in our lives as movies, music, video games, books, magazines, and newspapers. Whether as news, information, or entertainment, the media have become so ubiquitous that we seldom stop to think about the impact of their presence.
In 1998, the nation's Catholic bishops approved Renewing the Mind of the Media, their foundational document on the communications media. While acknowledging that "the media have such potential to bring truth and beauty into the lives of billions of people," the bishops warn that offensive "uses of sex and violence have become prevalent even in some forms of mainstream media" (1).
As the statement reminds us, the media are not beyond the reach of our influence. Together, through the Renewing the Mind of the Media Pledge and the resources available here and in parishes, the bishops are hopeful that we can exert our influence.
From the Renewing the Mind of the Media Parish Resource Kit
- Ideas for Parish Leaders
These ideas will help you disseminate the message of the Renewing the Mind of the Media statement, as well as support those who work in the media and communications.
- Ideas for Liturgists and Homilists
Pray for our brothers and sisters who work in the media field, on the numerous church feast days when those prayers are most appropriate. Use these ideas to bring a spirit of prayer to our concerns.
- Ideas for Schools, Religious Education, and Youth Programs
Practical ideas for classroom activities with students of all ages. Additional resources for educators can be found at the end.
- Ideas for Establishing a Parish Media Watch Group
Our Catholic faith urges us to take action not only to stop media assaults on our families and our society but also to encourage the media to strive to be of the highest quality in the service of the common good. This resource offers suggestions for forming a media watch group within your parish.
- Articles on Media Awareness
Articles by Church and media leaders offer viewpoints on ways to use the media in a positive fashion in line with Catholic moral teachings.
- Resource Bibliography
The bishops are not alone in their concerns about the media. This bibliography lists books, Web sites, media literacy and advocacy organizations, and other resources that will assist in your media awareness efforts at the local level.
- Media Contacts
You are urged to contact media companies directly by letter, fax and email to share your praise and criticism of television programs and movies you see.
Here are easy to understand definitions to commonly used media words and phrases.
Additional Resources from the USCCB
- USCCB Movie Reviews
See how the bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting has rated popular-release movies.
- Your Family and Cyberspace
This concise document from the bishops addressed to parents provides a brief summary of the popular areas of the Internet and outlines concerns and opportunities regarding its use.
- Family Guide for Using Media
The bishops consider the increased accessibility of the Internet, computer networks, and related media, and their impact on people. Parents and others are encouraged to affirm Christian values when evaluating and making use of the tools in this expanding arena.
- Renewing the Mind of the Media Video Excerpts
- Interview with Cardinal William Keeler
A Catholic leader on communications issues speaks about the impact of the media in our lives.