Second Forum on 'Mission and Media' of the CBCK Committee for Social Communications
The CBCK Committee for Social Communications (President: Most Rev. Thaddeus Cho Hwan-kil, Auxiliary Bishop of Daegu), following the forum held on last May 15 with the theme 'Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan and Media', held its second forum with the theme 'Mission and Media: the Image of the Catholic Church Viewed by Media', on June 19, 2009 at Franciscan Education Center in Jeongdong, Seoul.
This forum was intended to examine the image of the Catholic Churh in Korea viewed by the media and our society, with an analysis of the Catholic Church related reports and contents dealt in the media. Two experts presented their papers with the subjects of 'Image of the Catholic Church Viewed by a Religion Reporter' (Kim Han-soo from Chosun Ilbo, a daily Newspaper of Korea) and 'Image of the Catholic Church Viewed by Broadcast' (Dr. Park Mun-soo from Research Center of the Korean Catholic Culture). .
Mr. Kim from Chosun Ilbo summarized the image of the Catholic Church in Korea in that of solemnity-holiness, sacrifice-devotion, generosity-inculturation, spirituality and principle-conservatism, and explained, "The impression of refinement and holiness which the architecture of the Catholic Church gives, spiritual exercise like a retreat, unconditional devotion of the clergy and the religious, and generosity towards other religions strengthen a good impression of the Catholic Church to the public." However, he pointed out "While the number of the Catholics has rapidly increased, that of Sunday Mass attendants has been rather decreased." And he explained its reason as an easygoing religious practice of the faithful.
Following him, Dr. Park Mun-soo analyzed the image of the Catholic Church in broadcast, especially TV programs. According to him, in Korean TV dramas, the architecture or the confessional of the Catholic Church appears as a symbol of salvation, while there appear few scenes of the daily religious life of the Catholics. In news, before 1990s, the Catholic Church activities related to social issues were embossed, while after 1990s, reports related doctrinal issues like environmental or bioethical problems were increased. Recently documentaries related to the Catholic Church have been produced, presenting the asceticism and abstinence of the clergy and religious, which strengthens the elite image of the Catholic Church. In conclusion, Dr. Park pointed out, "The image of a religion reflected in broadcast media is a result of the religious practice of its faithful, and, thus, an evaluation of the contemporary for it. Therefore it is needed that the Catholics practice their faith faithfully in daily life to maintain and strengthen the unique image of the Catholic Church."