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Catholic Communicators in Cameroon Urged to “defend Church against evil forces”

Participants at the third national forum of Catholic communicators in Cameroon.

Catholic communicators in Cameroon have been urged to play the gate-keeping role, taking note of the events in society and striving to guard the people of God against evil in collaboration with their respective Local Ordinaries.

“Today, the Catholic communicator must defend the Church against the forces of evil. He/she must know how to play the watchdog role with his Bishop in order to know when to speak and what message to send to the public,” the Chairman of the Social Communications Commission of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC), Bishop Sosthène Léopold Bayemi said Tuesday, October 13.

Speaking at the start of the third national forum of Catholic communicators in Cameroon, Bishop Bayemi noted that “the Catholic communicator, like the prophet of the Old Testament, is sent to speak to the people, to make known to them the concern and the ́love that God has for them.” 

“The Catholic communicator, using the new media, whose importance is no longer in doubt today, becomes for many people the main means of information and training; he/she guides and inspires individual, family and social behavior,” the Cameroonian Prelate said at the beginning of the five-day national forum taking place in the Archdiocese of Garoua, in the Northern region of Cameroon.

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“We must therefore make every effort to have a positive impact on our society,” the Bishop said in his opening remarks at the event.

He went on to urge Catholics engaged in communication initiatives drawn from the 26 dioceses in Cameroon “to use new languages that promote the ́infinite richness of the Gospel so as to meet new forms of ́expression that could reach the minds and hearts of each and every one of us.”

The October 12-16 meeting is an opportunity for Catholic communicators in Cameroon to “review the new challenges of communication in general, but especially Catholic communication, which today is effective in the Announcement of the Good News,” the Bishop said.

The national forum is being held under the theme, “The Commitment of the Catholic Communicator in announcing the Gospel for a more engaging presence of the Church in Cameroon.” 

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In his October 13 address, Bishop Bayemi noted that for communication to be effective, as the parables of Jesus were, the communicator “must stimulate the ́imagination and the affective sensitivity of those whom we wish to invite to encounter the Mystery of the ́love of God.”

Referencing Pope Francis’ latest Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, the Local Ordinal of Cameroon’s Obala Diocese encouraged participants to foster fraternity saying, “The Catholic media have a duty to participate in the promotion of universal fraternity. Cameroon, like all the countries of the world, has an urgent need to bring together all her sons and daughters and the Catholic communicator’s role is essential.”

“The Catholic communicator is the one who stimulates in his Diocese or Religious Congregation the ardent desire for encounter with others,” he said at the start of the event that has brought together Diocesan Directors of Communication, delegates of Religious Congregations and representatives of Catholic communication structures in Cameroon.

In order to participate in making the Church visible, the 55-year-old Prelate said, “The Catholic communicator must actively participate in major issues affecting society: family, peace, Human rights, defense for life, solidarity, social justice, ecology, children, young people, the elderly, trafficking in persons, migration…”

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“The Catholic Church has the mission to preach the message of Salvation,” Bishop Bayemi further said and continued in reference to the Church, “To do this, she must use the media and communicators to teach people the good use of the latter.”

“We are used to seeing the Church's commitment in social areas such as education with the Catholic schools, health with the Catholic hospitals and dispensaries, care for the poor with the orphanages, Caritas,” he said.

He continued, “We must also learn to see the Church present in the hyper-complex world of communication, which is at the heart of its existence, the proclamation of the Good News, Evangelization, the Communication of the salvation brought by Jesus Christ to mankind.”

“As Catholic communicators, we must reaffirm the social teaching of the Church, participate in the formation of consciences, and to give a better visibility of the Church by building bridges and not barriers between people,” Bishop Bayemi said in conclusion.

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