In the following decree, the delegates at the 31st General Congregation of the Society of Jesus note how the daily growth in the “intensity and extent” of new mass media’s “presence and influence” actually presented an opportunity for their fellow Jesuits. Radio, films, and television could provide Jesuits “with very suitable aids to our apostolate in many ministries of the Society.” Therefore, the delegates provide several recommendations so that the various means of mass media might be best “employed as very effective tools in many of our ministries, especially in preaching the word of God and in the training of youth.”
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1. The presence and influence of the new mass media (radio, films, television) daily grow in intensity and extent in the modern world.
On the one hand, they are for our age the most important means of expression and therefore provide us with very suitable aids to our apostolate in many ministries of the Society.
On the other hand, the spread of these media to the entire human family so reaches the minds and hearts of men of every age and situation that they have a truly universal influence. As a result, they determine to a great extent what modern men think, even what they do.
2. It follows, therefore, that these media can no longer be looked on as something directed primarily to the relaxation of the spirit, but rather as the means of expression and mass communication in today’s state of men and affairs, one which can to some extent be called a “culture of the image.”
3. The General Congregation, reviewing earlier directives in the light of the Second Vatican Council’s decree on the Instruments of social communication, wishes to recommend the following with respect to an apostolate of these new means of communication:
1° These mass media should be employed as very effective tools in many of our ministries, especially in preaching the word of God and in the training of youth.
2° Consideration should also be given to the specific opportunity afforded by these media to have an impact, whether with regard to treating questions or to influencing people, where one could not easily be had by other means and forms of the apostolate.
3° Provision should be made in our formation program for a training in the mass media that is adapted to each period of formation.
4° Provincials should in good time choose some men who are endowed with a religious spirit and other gifts, so that, after they have become expert at various levels of specialization and have acquired academic degrees, they may become competent in the practice of this apostolate and in directing others in it. Where it might seem useful, a center should he set up as a help in the acquiring of this specialization.
5° What Father Janssens decreed concerning secretariats on the international, regional and provincial levels should be faithfully carried out, since this is a necessary and effective means of stressing and promoting this kind of apostolate.
Original Source (English translation):
Jesuit Life & Mission Today: The Decrees & Accompanying Documents of the 31st–35th General Congregations of the Society of Jesus, ed. John W. Padberg. St. Louis, Mo.: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2009, General Congregation 31, Decree 35, “The Mass Media,” pg. 186–187 [594–603].