Olli Dürr Society “Holy See” has long claimed media sovereignty

“Holy See” has long claimed media sovereignty

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Media of all kinds, especially social media, are responsible for the well-being of humanity and are therefore bound to proclaim the “healing messages” of the Vatican. The topic doesn’t even have to be theological in nature.

Rome’s birthright claim

The Roman Catholic Church has always had the urge to have omnipotent sovereignty over everything and everyone. Media sovereignty therefore automatically plays an important role. The “position for elevated oversight” once described by Pope Benedict XVI means nothing other than the supreme supervision of the Bishop of Rome over all matters in the world. The Church, i.e. the Vatican for religious matters, and the “Holy See”, the absolute monarchy for temporal (state) affairs.

This church sees itself as the church founded by Jesus Christ, in the succession of the (first declared “pope”) Peter, the body of Christ on earth, personified in the Pontifex Maximus, with its seat in the Cathedral of the Lateran. Therefore, it is her own conviction that she has the right to rule, to give instructions, to be the sole owner of all natural and manufactured goods in the world, even to people as a whole and, last but not least, to have the sovereignty of opinion as a birthright.

Of course, sovereignty of opinion requires a certain influence on the media. The ideal case: media sovereignty. At this point, the “Holy See” already set the appropriate levers and adjusting screws in motion during the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Pope Paul VI issued a decree (inter mirifica) on December 4, 1963 due to his “concern” for the common good in the context of the media in all forms (Source). The pontiff was already talking about “social media” at this time. A term that has now become part of everyday life and that some platforms immediately bring to mind.

Holy See has concrete ideas

Pope Paul VI shared his partial findings during the Second Vatican Council on the need for papal supervision of the media landscape using his decree. While the first chapter of this papal decree is addressed to the general public and those involved in social media, the second chapter focuses on those responsible for the Curia.

The preface to the decree “inter mirifica” states:
(not available in the English version of the Vatican, therefore translated from German)
The Council therefore considers it its duty to take up the vigilant concern of the Popes and Bishops in this important matter and to address the urgent questions related to the means of social communication. It also hopes that the teaching and instructions presented here will not only serve the salvation of believers, but also the progress of human society as a whole.

At least at first glance, this sounds like a declaration of intent that is benevolent to humanity, and (even) less like a grab for media sovereignty.

“Salvation for all people”

Vatican Basilica

The Vatican – Historically assured unchanging character

In the first chapter at position 3, the Pope sets the record straight:
The Catholic Church, since it was founded by Christ our Lord to bear salvation to all men and thus is obliged to preach the Gospel, considers it one of its duties to announce the Good News of salvation also with the help of the media of social communication and to instruct men in their proper use.

It is, therefore, an inherent right of the Church to have at its disposal and to employ any of these media insofar as they are necessary or useful for the instruction of Christians and all its efforts for the welfare of souls. It is the duty of Pastors to instruct and guide the faithful so that they, with the help of these same media, may further the salvation and perfection of themselves and of the entire human family. In addition, the laity especially must strive to instill a human and Christian spirit into these media, so that they may fully measure up to the great expectations of mankind and to God’s design.

The claim to use and ownership of social communication media is framed in the context of spiritual salvation for people, but their claim refers to the “salvation of all people”. This includes the vast majority of non-Catholics. Those people who probably only very rarely consume Catholic media. Therefore, there is automatically a need to expand the sphere of influence beyond purely Catholic media. Furthermore, this passage is not worded in such a way that it is about using and owning “own” media for the purpose, but rather about “each” of these means of communication.

General claim to media sovereignty

Print media

All media aimed at the benefit of the people

There is obviously no intention to remain within exclusively Catholic media, as shown in the first chapter, position 11:
The principle moral responsibility for the proper use of the media of social communication falls on newsmen, writers, actors, designers, producers, displayers, distributors, operators and sellers, as well as critics and all others who play any part in the production and transmission of mass presentations. It is quite evident what gravely important responsibilities they have in the present day when they are in a position to lead the human race to good or to evil by informing or arousing mankind.

Thus, they must adjust their economic, political or artistic and technical aspects so as never to oppose the common good. For the purpose of better achieving this goal, they are to be commended when they join professional associations, which-even under a code, if necessary, of sound moral practice-oblige their members to show respect for morality in the duties and tasks of their craft.

This would set the “rough framework”. Actually the entire media landscape. Again included is this extremely flexible term “common good” which requires a definition. What is the common good, who defines it, who enforces it and exercises surveillance? The “common good” is the focus of every papal benevolence intended for humanity.

The consumer has a responsibility

After “his” media had provided the obligation to provide benevolent information, opinion formation, orientation and conditioning, the Pope sees consumers as having a duty to accommodate. So in the first chapter, position 9:
In order that those who make use of these media may fulfill the moral code, they [readers, viewers, listerners] ought not to neglect to inform themselves in time about judgments passed by authorities competent in these matters. They ought also to follow such judgments according to the norms of an upright conscience. So that they may more easily resist improper inducements and rather encourage those that are desirable, let them take care to guide and instruct their consciences with suitable aids.

Such ambitions of the pontiff have become apparent and have now become noticeable. The Pope demands nothing less than to follow the messages spread by the media (and its many “experts”) “to the best of one’s knowledge and belief” (obedience). This quintessentially Catholic character of having to follow the dogmas formulated by the Church without contradiction was clearly shown during the “measure years” from 2020 to 2022. Deviations from the narratives proclaimed in the media were declared to be heresy, in true Roman Catholic fashion. The consequences had a medieval touch. The only things that didn’t happen were embarrassing interrogations and a funeral pyre.

Concrete approaches


Social media is important to the papacy

When the numerous celebrities line up at the entrance to the Vatican to chat with the pontiff in comfort for a few minutes, the topics chosen are unlikely to concern health, favorite foods and the weather. This is particularly true when business representatives come from the social media sector.

The popular representatives of social media include, for example, Mark Zuckerberg (Papal Audience on August 30th, 2016) for Meta (Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram), Tim Cook (Papal Audience on October 3rd, 2022) for the Apple Group, Brad Smith (Papal Audience on February 13th, 2022). 2019) for Microsoft, Eric Schmidt (Pope’s audience on January 15, 2016) for Google and Elon Musk (Pope’s audience on July 2, 2022) for “X” (“Twitter”).

Facebook entered into its first cooperation with “Correctiv” in mid-2017 and it is no longer a secret that Google is not free from censoring websites with unpleasant topics.

As far as representatives of the TV and print media are concerned, as well as politicians, officials and bankers, such “pointing” meetings take place regularly in the well-known Bilderberg clique. First organized in May 1954 by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, but the lead founding, and with it the bridge to Rome, by Jesuit (novice) Józef Retinger. He, in turn, played a pioneering role in shaping the European Community that has resulted to this day. Retinger founded the “European Movement” and the “Council of Europe”. All organizations for the “common good”.

The modern, time-limited Babylon – here

And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
Revelation 18:16-17

Bible verses from King James Version

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