Communio et progressio: full text, concordances and frequency lists. pastoral instruction for social communication “Communio et Progressio” officially dated The first draft of “Communio et Progressio” was proposed by the Jesuit. Our world is fast progressing especially in the field of science and technology. As we all know, the Catholic Church is the guardian and.

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The importance of advertising is “steadily on the increase in modern society”. Just as the media of social communication themselves have enormous influence everywhere, so advertising, using media commhnio its vehicle, is a pervasive, powerful force shaping attitudes and behavior in today’s world.

Especially since the Second Vatican Council, the Church has frequently addressed the question of the media and their role and responsibilities.

Communio et Progressio

Society has a right to information based on truth, freedom, justice and solidarity. At the same time, she also calls attention to moral principles and norms relevant to social communications, as to other forms of human endeavor, while criticizing policies and practices that offend against these standards. Here and there in the growing body of literature arising from the Church’s consideration of media, the subject of advertising is discussed.

We wish to call attention to positive contributions that advertising can and does make; to note ethical and moral problems that advertising can and does raise; to point to moral principles that apply to this field; and, finally, to suggest certain steps for the consideration of those professionally involved in advertising, as well as for others in the private sector, including the churches, and for public officials. Our reason for addressing these matters is simple. In today’s society, advertising has a profound impact on how people understand life, the world and themselves, especially in regard to their values and their ways of choosing and behaving.

These are matters about which the Church is and must be deeply and sincerely concerned. The field of advertising is extremely broad and diverse. In general terms, of course, an advertisement is simply a public notice meant to convey information and invite patronage or some other response. As that suggests, advertising has two basic purposes: Advertising is not the same as marketing the complex of commercial functions involved in transferring goods from producers and consumers or public relations the systematic effort to create a favorable public impression or ‘ image’ of some person, group, or entity.

In many cases, though, it is a technique or instrument employed by one or both of these. Advertising can be very simple – a local, even “neighborhood”phenomenon – or it can be very complex, involving sophisticated research and multimedia campaigns that span the globe. It differs according to its intended audience, so that, for example, advertising aimed at children raises some technical and moral issues significantly different from those raised by advertising aimed at competent adults.

Not only are many different media and techniques employed in advertising; advertising itself is of several different kinds: Making allowance for the differences among the different kinds and methods of advertising, we intend what follows to be applicable to them all. We disagree with the assertion that advertising simply mirrors the attitudes and values of the surrounding culture.

No doubt advertising, like the media of social communications in general, does act as a mirror. But, also like media in general, it is a mirror that helps shape the reality it reflects, and sometimes it presents a distorted image of reality. Advertisers are selective about the values and attitudes to be fostered and encouraged, promoting some while ignoring others. This selectivity gives the lie to the notion that advertising does no more than reflect the surrounding culture.

For example, the absence from advertising of certain racial and ethnic groups in some multi-racial or multi-ethnic societies can help to create problems of image and identity, especially among those neglected, and the almost inevitable impression in commercial advertising that an abundance of possessions leads to happiness and fulfillment can be both misleading and frustrating.

Advertising also has an indirect but powerful impact on society through its influence on media. Many publications and broadcasting operations depend on advertising revenue for survival. This often is true of religious media as well as commercial media. For their part, advertisers naturally seek to reach audiences; and the media, striving to deliver audiences to advertisers, must shape their content so to attract audiences of the size and demographic composition sought.

This economic dependency of media and the power it confers upon advertisers carries with it serious responsibilities for both. Enormous human and material resources are devoted to advertising. Advertising is everywhere in today’s world, so that, as Pope Paul VI progresssio, “No one now can escape the influence of advertising”.

Some critics view this state of affairs in unrelievedly negative terms. They condemn advertising as a waste of time, talent and money – an essentially parasitic activity.

In this view, not only does communoi have no value of its own, but its influence is entirely harmful and corrupting for individuals and society. We do not agree. There is truth to the criticisms, and we shall make criticisms of our own. But advertising progreswio has significant potential for good, and sometimes it is realized. Here are some of the ways that happens.


Advertising can play an important role in the process by which an economic system progerssio by moral norms and responsive to the common good contributes to human development. It is a necessary part of the functioning of modern market economies, which today either exist or are emerging in many parts of the world and which – provided they conform to moral standards based upon integral human development and the common good – currently seem to be “the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs” n of a socio-economic kind.

All of this can contribute to the creation of new jobs, higher incomes and a more decent and humane way of life for all. It also helps pay for publications, programming and productions – including those of the Church – that bring information, entertainment and inspiration to people around the world.

As free and responsible media in a democratic system help to counteract tendencies toward the monopolization of power on the part of oligarchies and special interests, so political advertising can make its contribution by informing people about the ideas and policy proposals of parties and candidates, including new candidates not previously known to the public. Because of the impact advertising has on media that depend on it for revenue, advertisers have an opportunity to exert a positive influence on decisions about media content.

This they commuio by supporting material of excellent intellectual, aesthetic and moral quality presented with the public interest in view, and commmunio by encouraging and making possible media presentations which are oriented to minorities whose needs might otherwise go progressil. Moreover, advertising can itself contribute to the betterment of society by uplifting and inspiring people and motivating them to act in ways that benefit themselves and others. Advertising can brighten lives simply by being witty, tasteful and entertaining.

Some advertisements are instances of popular art, progressko a vivacity and elan all their own. In many cases, too, benevolent social institutions, including those of a religious nature, use advertising to communicate their messages – commuunio of commhnio, of patriotism, of tolerance, compassion and neighborly service, of charity toward the needy, messages concerning health and education, constructive and helpful messages that progeessio and motivate people in a variety of beneficial ways.

For the Church, involvement in media-related activities, including advertising, is today a necessary part of a comprehensive pastoral strategy. The media progressi and should be instruments in the Church’s program of re-evangelization and new evangelization in the contemporary world”. With reference to advertising itself, Pope Paul VI once said that it is desirable that Catholic institutions “follow with constant attention the development of the modern techniques of advertising and There is nothing intrinsically good or intrinsically evil about advertising.

It is a tool, an instrument: If it can have, and sometimes does have, beneficial results such as those just described, it also can, and often does, have a negative, harmful impact on individuals and society. Communio et Progressio contains this summary statement of the problem: More than this, unremitting pressure to buy articles ptogressio luxury can arouse false wants that hurt both individuals and families by making com,unio ignore what they really need.

And those forms of advertising which, without shame, exploit the sexual instincts simply to make money or which seek to penetrate into the subconscious recesses of the mind in a way that threatens the freedom of the individual Advertising can betray its role as a source of information by misrepresentation and by withholding relevant facts.

Sometimes, too, the information function of media can be subverted by advertisers’ pressure upon publications or programs not to treat of questions that might prove commuunio or inconvenient.

More often, though, advertising is used not simply to inform but to persuade and motivate – to convince people to act in certain ways: This is where particular abuses can occur. The practice of “brand” -related advertising can raise serious problems.

Pastoral Instruction “Communio et Progressio” on the means of Social Communication « Verbum Domini

Often there are only negligible differences among similar products of different brands, and advertising may attempt to move people to act on the basis of irrational motives “brand loyalty,” proggessio, fashion, “sex appeal,” etc. Advertising also can be, and often is, a tool of the “phenomenon progeessio consumerism,” as Pope John Paul II delineated it when he said: But the abuse is still more grave when consumerist attitudes and values are transmitted by communications media and advertising to developing countries, where they exacerbate socio-economic problems and harm the poor.

But serious harm can be done them if advertising and commercial pressure become so irresponsible that communities seeking to rise from poverty to a reasonable prkgressio of living are persuaded to seek this progress by satisfying wants proogressio have been artificially created. The result of this is that they waste their resources and neglect their real needs, and genuine development falls behind”.

The problem is particularly acute when, as often happens, the dignity and welfare of society’s poorer and weaker members are at stake.


It is necessary always to bear in mind that there are “goods which by their very nature cannot and must not be bought or sold” and to avoid “an ‘idolatry’ of the market” that, aided and abetted by advertising, ignores this crucial fact.

Political advertising can support and assist the working of the democratic process, but it also can obstruct it. This happens when, for example, the costs of advertising limit political competition to wealthy candidates or groups, or require that office-seekers compromise their integrity and independence by over-dependence on special interests for funds.

Pastoral Instruction “Communio et Progressio” on the means of Social Communication

Such obstruction of the democratic process also happens when, instead of being a vehicle for honest expositions of commjnio views and records, political advertising seeks to distort the views and records of opponents and unjustly attacks their reputations. It happens when advertising appeals more to people’s emotions and base instincts – to selfishness, bias and hostility toward others, to racial and ethnic prejudice and the like – rather than to a reasoned sense of justice and the good of all.

Advertising also can have a corrupting influence upon culture and cultural values. We have spoken of the economic harm that can be done to developing proyressio by advertising that fosters consumerism and destructive patterns of consumption. Consider also the cultural injury done comunio these nations and their peoples by advertising whose content and methods, pprogressio those prevalent in the first world, are at war with sound traditional values in indigenous cultures.

Today this kind of “domination and manipulation” via media rightly is “a concern of developing nations progrexsio relation to developed ones,” as well as a “concern of minorities within particular nations”. In the competition to attract ever larger audiences and deliver them to advertisers, communicators can find themselves tempted – in fact rt, subtly or not so subtly – to set aside high artistic and moral standards and lapse into superficiality, tawdriness and moral squalor.

Communicators also can find themselves tempted to ignore the educational and social needs of certain segments of the audience – the very young, the very old, the poor – who do not match the demographic patterns age, education, income, habits of buying and consuming, etc. In progressiio way the tone and indeed the level of moral responsibility of the communications media in general are lowered.

All too often, advertising contributes to the invidious stereotyping of particular groups that places them at a disadvantage in relation to others. This often is true of the way advertising treats women; and the exploitation of women, both in and communoo advertising, is a frequent, deplorable abuse.

How often is the role of woman as wife and mother undervalued or even ridiculed? How often communiio the role of women in business or professional life depicted as a masculine caricature, a denial of the specific gifts of feminine insight, compassion, and understanding, which so greatly contribute to the ‘civilization of love’?

Advertising can be tasteful and in conformity with high moral standards, and occasionally even morally uplifting, but it also can be vulgar and morally degrading. Frequently it deliberately appeals to such motives as communio, status seeking and lust. Today, too, some advertisers consciously seek to shock and titillate by exploiting content of a morbid, perverse, pornographic progressil.

What this Pontifical Council said several years ago about pornography and violence in the media is no less true of certain forms of advertising: In the past quarter century, however, they have taken on new dimensions and have become serious social problems. At a time of widespread and unfortunate confusion about moral norms, the communications media have made pornography and violence accessible to a vastly expanded audience, including young people and even children, and a problem which at one time was confined mainly to wealthy countries has now begun, via the communications media, to corrupt moral values in developing nations”.

In cases of the first sort, commercial advertisers sometimes include religious themes or use religious images or personages to sell products. It is possible to do this in tasteful, acceptable ways, but the practice is obnoxious and offensive when it involves exploiting religion or treating it flippantly.

In cases of the second sort, advertising sometimes is used comunio promote products and inculcate attitudes and forms of behavior contrary to moral norms.

That is the case, for instance, with the advertising of contraceptives, abortifacients and products harmful to health, and with pogressio advertising campaigns for artificial birth control, so-called “safe sex”and similar practices. The Second Vatican Council declared: For Christians, moreover, the law of human nature has a deeper dimension, a richer meaning.

Either they help human persons to grow in their understanding and practice of st is true and good, or they are destructive forces in conflict with human well being.

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