The theology of communication was the subject of an address by Bishop Patrick Kalilombe of Lilongwe, Malawi, to bishops from seven African countries who met at Kitwe, 4ambia, for a four-day study conference. The bishops were studying how they can best implement the Pastoral Instruction on Mass Media, Cornmunio et Progressio.
"Man has an urge to share what he is, his visions, feelings, problems, hopes" said Bishop Kahlombe, a leading African biblical theologian.
A person could not meet the challenges of his existence unless he was part of the community. He was without meaning except in relation to other people.
In appealing for a more ecumenical approach to the problems the Churches meet in their involvement in the mass media, he said: "Conditions in these countries of ours are such that individualistic efforts by each Church or denomination will mean great waste of resources and personnel. "We all aim at the same thing basically. Why then can we not pool our resources and learn to work together for the common good.
"Such collaboration would bring in more power and efficacy in making the mass media real instruments of progress and human promotion."
Other participants at the conference represented Catholic secretariats and publications in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia. Ethiopia, and the Sudan.
The meeting was sponsored by the Pontificial Commission for Communications which decided two years ago that continentat meetings were essential. The organiser was Fr. Joseph Healey, social communications secretary for Association of Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa.
A seminary for editOrs and business managers of Christian publications in East and Central Africa ended at the Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation the day before the bishops meet. Priorities called for by the media leaders were presented to the study conference. They said there should be much keener awareness among the churches of the importance of the print media in the Christian apostolate.
A third meeting, which ended on Monday, was about developing Christian periodicals. The Association for Christian literature Development had called together writers, publishers and booksellers in East and Central Africa.
There were representatives also from the World Council of Churches, Geneva; ACED, London; the All Africa Conference of Churches, Nairobi: and observers from America. Holland and India.