The universal church felt the need of having Public Relations office nearly two
decades ago and advised national episcopal conferences to set Public Relations offices.
Several church documents speak on the need for a Public Relations office in church
a) Communio et Progressio (1971) : "Every diocese, all Episcopal Conference
or Bishop’s Assemblies and the Holy See itself should each have its own official
and permanent spokesman or press officer to issue the news and give clear explanations
of the documents of the Church so that people can grasp precisely what is intended.
b) Aetatis Novae (1992) : "Public relations by the Church means active
communication with the community through both secular and religious media. Involving
readiness to communicate Gospel values and to publicize the ministries and programs
of the Church, it requires that the Church do all in its power to ensure that its
own true image reflects Christ."
c) Asian Synod - (1998) : "Four actions are proposed for the effective
presentation of the message of Christ: (1) Bishop should have active communication
and Public Relations office; (2) They should prepare competent Catholics in the
field of Social Communications; (3) There should be ecumenical and inter-religious
cooperation to guarantee access of religion and religious values to the media and
secure their respect for moral values; (4) On the national and diocesan level, bishops
should develop a pastoral plan for communications and secure the communications
dimension in all pastoral activities."
d) Indian Bishops View: The Bishop of India also felt the need of
PR office long ago. However it was only in the year 1992 during their meeting at
Bangalore this concern was discussed. Finally, the C.B.C.I. appointed a Public Relations
Public Relations as Specific to the Church in India
The PR work of the Church in India is much more urgent and specific. Here it is
not just projecting the good image of the Church and speaking up at the times of
crisis. Though the Church in India is a minority institution, it is influential
and could boldly present its views on issues affecting the society. It is time that
the church takes a lead in speaking out on violations of human rights by sharing
information with the media that is clear, precise and fast.
Functions of the PR office
Though the document on Communio et Progressio (1971) spells out the functions of
the PR office some of the specific functions at the CBCI will be the following: