CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 September 2018

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Fight fake news Philippine media urged
MANILA (UCAN): Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig, chairperson of the Philippine bishops’ Commission on Social Communications told the delegates at the four-day 4th National Catholic Media Convention in Davao City to be “journalists of peace.” He said, “As Catholic media practitioners ... we must be men and women of prayer.” 
 
About 150 priests, nuns, and lay people from more than 80 dioceses across the country attended the gathering, which ended on August 9, to discuss fake news and the role of journalists in the peace process.
 
The bishop said that Filipinos working in the Church’s social communication ministry need a lot of prayer and a “sense of mission” to be able “to combat fake news” and work for peace.
 
Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, quoted Pope Francis saying that the “best antidotes to falsehoods are not strategies, but people (who) listen, people who make the effort to engage in sincere dialogue so the truth can emerge.”
 
The archbishop of Davao stressed the urgency in addressing the spread of so-called fake news, especially on social media.
 
“It seems impossible, but we always pray and inspire people to abandon that life. We don’t lose hope. Catholic media should inspire people in media. We should be conveyors of truth,” Archbishop Valles said.
 
Last year, the Philippine bishops issued a statement urging Catholics to refrain from “patronising, popularising, and supporting identified sources of alternative facts or fake news.”
 
The bishops said spreading fake news is a “sin against charity because it hinders people making right and sound decisions and encourages them, instead, to make faulty ones.”
 
Use Internet to promote tourism that respects environment
VATICAN (CNS): With more and more people planning their vacations online and sharing their experiences digitally, the tourism industry and tourists themselves should pay more attention to using online forums to encourage respect for the locales visited and for the communities that live there, the Vatican said in a message for the September 27 celebration of World Tourism Day.
 
Peter Cardinal Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said the “digital transformation” of tourism has the potential for promoting happier and healthier vacations that do more to protect the natural environment and promote authentic encounters between people. The cardinal’s message was released by the Vatican on August 4. 
 
For World Tourism Day 2018, the World Tourism Organisation is focusing on the industry’s digital transformation. 
 
The cardinal noted how digital technology is “dramatically changing the way we live periods of rest, vacation, mobility and tourism in all its forms.” Digital innovation, he wrote, should have the aim of “promoting inclusiveness, increasing the engagement of people and local communities and achieving an intelligent and equitable management of resources.” 
 
The Vatican’s hope, he added, is that “tourism will contribute to glorifying God and to increasingly validating human dignity, mutual knowledge, spiritual brotherhood, refreshment of body and soul.”
 
Fear, uncertainty lead to a ‘do-it-yourself’ religion pope says
VATICAN (CNS): Like the ancient Israelites, Christians today also can fall into the temptation of creating their own idols when difficulties and uncertainties arise, Pope Francis said. 
 
“To escape precariousness human nature looks for a ‘do-it-yourself’ religion. If God does not show himself, we create a tailor-made god,” the pope said during his weekly general audience on August 8. 
 
Continuing his series of audience talks about the 10 Commandments, the pope said he wanted to return to the theme of idolatry. He reflected on the reading from the book of Exodus in which the Israelites ask Aaron to build a golden calf to worship while Moses was receiving the commandments. 
 
Moses’ absence triggered anxieties, leading people to create an idol that embodied “the desires that give the illusion of freedom but instead enslave,” he explained. 
 
The calf had a double meaning in the ancient East, representing fruitfulness and abundance and also energy and strength, he explained. 
 
“But above all, it was made of gold because it is a symbol of wealth. Success, power and money. These are the temptations of all time,” the pope said. 
 
Idolatry, he continued, stems from the inability to trust in God and in the absence of trust, Christians lack the strength to resist succumbing to doubt in times of uncertainty. Without God, he added, it “is easy to fall into idolatry and be content with meager reassurances.”

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