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Catholic Theological Union


Theology and communication seem to go together, at least because the Church is as much in the communication business as it is in the business of reflecting on its belief. Whether the disciples go forth to proclaim the good news to all the nations, or a diocese publishes a newspaper, or an entrepreneur starts a religious cable station, the Church is unmistakably linked to communication. On the other hand, the Church's is certainly not the only wave in the sea of information in which people live. Augustine noticed that and devoted the De doctrina christiana to a theological consideration of whether Christians should use fourth-century high tech communications (which is exactly what rhetoric was in his day). When he reached a positive conclusion, the Church had a theoretical rationale for what people intuitively did. Even before Augustine, Christians had used word, image, paintings, mosaics, songs, and pretty much anything else to proclaim and sustain their belief. Such usage had its critics, in people who felt that Christianity should avoid pagan forms (Goethals 1990; Miles 1985). And so, the question Augustine dealt with had as much to do with inculturation as with communications efficiency or public relations.


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