From .................... Catholic International
In order to counteract the fundamentalist Protestant presence in the Brazilian media, Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves, O.P. of Sao Salvador da Bahia, president of the Brazilian Bishops' Conference, announced plans to strengthen the presence of the [Roman] Catholic Church in the mass media.
The [Roman] Catholic Church's concern has been increasing during the last five years, but it reached a peak last October when a Brazilian fundamentalist pastor, Sergio Von Helder, publicly attacked devotion to Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil's patroness.
Images of Von Helder kicking a wooden replica of the Virgin were broadcast nationwide by TV Record, a TV network controlled by the Universal Church of God's Kingdom, a fundamentalist sect founded by Edir Macedo, a former member of an Afro-Brazilian cult.
According to the Brazilian Bishops' Conference, the [Roman Catholic] Church has not yet been able to coordinate the more than 300 [Roman] Catholic radio stations in the country that are owned or managed by Catholic organizations.
The new effort of the bishops will aim at coordinating the radio stations and promoting Rede Vida [Life Network], the Catholic TV channel founded five years ago. The project includes increasing the number of broadcasting hours and expanding the reach of the channel.
"Through the media, we want to show that we are a living and active community,"
the cardinal said.
According to the Salvador newspaper O Globe, the [Roman] Catholic Church will have to make substantial investments to counter the dominant presence of fundamentalist sects in the media.
"The confrontation with the [Roman] Catholic Church was planned, because attacks against other Churches and cults are part of the strategy of Macedo's Church," the daily said. O Globe revealed that the Universal Church of God's Kingdom owns one TV network, 25 broadcasting stations in the country, 30 radio stations, two newspapers, and one magazine.
According to Neves,
"we have to expand, certainly, our presence in the media, but we are unwilling to compete for media power. We believe more in the strength of our message than in the power of our tools," he concluded.
[CI, Lima Bureau [Alejandro Bermudez]
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