2014-04-01 Vatican - Communicating the good news of the Gospel to the ends of the earth: that’s the challenging task of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its foundation on Wednesday April 2nd.

Established as a Pontifical Commission by Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council, it brought together in one office experts in cinema, radio, television and the press. Pope Paul made a point of being present in person at its first plenary assembly. A few months later, he visited its newly enlarged headquarters and three years later, oversaw the institution of World Communications Day to be celebrated in countries around the world each year on the Sunday before Pentecost. Under Pope John Paul II the commission was elevated to the status of Pontifical Council and since then has expanded its focus rapidly to keep pace with all the developments of the internet era.But the history of the modern day Council goes further back to the years following the Second World War, as Philippa Hitchen found out when she talked to the Council’s current president, Archbishop Claudio Celli….

"The first commission was in 1948, Pius XII, and mainly it was dealing with the cinema, the movies, and how the Church was paying attention to this new activity....If you remember a few months ago, December 4th 1963 was approved by the bishops at the Council the decree Inter Mirifica, not only like a conclusion of these historical developments, but really behind the perception of the popes and of the Church about the influence of the media in the lives of human beings....

Today we talk easily about digital culture......but the internet is not only developing a new culture but little by little it is a milieu where people are living.....we are called to announce the Gospel living in these social networks..."