VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Australian Archbishop Mark B. Coleridge of Canberra and Goulburn, and Greg Erlandson, president of the Catholic Press Association and president and publisher of Our Sunday Visitor in Huntington, were named by Pope Benedict XVI to help advise the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
The Vatican released the names of the new appointments Dec. 29.
Ten bishops were named new members of the council; among them are Archbishop Dolan, who is president of the U.S. bishops’ conference and a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, and Archbishop Coleridge, who is a member of the Synod of Bishops and Pontifical Council for Culture.
Among the 11 new consultors or advisers to the communications council are: Erlandson, Giovanni Maria Vian, editor of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano; Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, the editor of the influential Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica; and Dominican Sister Dominica Dipio, who is a filmmaker and head of the department of literature at Makerere University in Uganda.
In an e-mail interview with Erlandson, he told Today’s Catholic, “The appointment is a great honor, and most unexpected.”
“I am impressed by the other consultors who have been appointed, and I hope I can make some sort of contribution to the work of the council,” Erlandson said. “I am particularly aware that the United States has been in the forefront of so many recent developments in communications and mass media. We are in many ways at the epicenter of the great changes taking place worldwide in the realm of social communications.”
“Because the Church has as its mission the communication of the Gospel, this pontifical council has great significance for the overall mission of the Church in terms of the New Evangelization in the 21st century,” he added. “It will be a privilege to make some small contribution to this effort.”
The Pontifical Council for Social Communications has its roots in the 1948 establishment of the Pontifical Commission for the Study and Ecclesiastical Evaluation of Films on Religious or Moral Subjects, renamed later that year as the Pontifical Commission for Educational and Religious Films.
Headed by Italian Archbishop Claudio Celli, the council now deals with a wide variety of topics, including advertising, the Internet, pornography and violence, and communications ethics.
Erlandson said the duty of the consultor “is that we assist the Pontifical Council in addressing issues of particular interest in the fields of social communications and mass media. The council has been very involved in social media and Internet communications, including sponsoring a ‘bloggers summit’ in Rome last year.”
Msgr. Owen Campion, associate publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, served a five-year term as consultor. His term expired in October.
Erlandson said, “I follow in illustrious footsteps. Msgr. Campion has long served the council well.”
“It is also a tribute to Our Sunday Visitor, which is dedicated to serving the Church in northeast Indiana and worldwide and which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year,” Erlandson added. “I think that the appointment recognizes that Our Sunday Visitor is dedicated to the mission of print and electronic communication of the news of our Church and the teachings of our faith. As Archbishop (John F.) Noll often said, ‘we serve the Church by helping Catholics see their world through the eyes of faith.’”
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