The greatest witness to the Christian tradition, apart from the Churches themselves, comes from radio and television, Cardinal Hume told a meeting of staff from the Independent Broadcasting Association (I.R.A.) in Bath last week.
He said that the Church had reason to be grateful to broadcasting, which had enabled the gospel to be carried literally to the ends of the earth, and he made it clear that he would welcome "a close and creative partnership between the Churches and the broadcasters."
"Perhaps the Churches have failed to meet the challenge rather than the broadcasters," he said. "After all the broadcasters can't be expected to remedy the weaknesses of the teaching Church."
The Cardinal disagreed with those who said evangelisation was impossible through the mass media, though he drew a distinction between evangelisation and conversion. The media could proclaim, if not convert, he said, adding: "Perhaps we Christians expect too much of the media and not enough of the Churches."
In some ways broadcasters could do more than the Church, and could help to meet the needs of those who were not willing to become full Church members, he said.
He suggested that careful thought needed to be given to the best ways of using the opportunities provided by the media. "Radio and TV may plant but somebody else must water and tend the seed," he said.
And he described the power that broadcasters had to bring God to man and man to God as "an awesome responsibility."