1.Impact of Modern Communication
The twenty-first century is the century of information, communication and confusion. Information is being treated as the sixth most important resource in addition to the traditional resources, man, money, machine, material, moment (time). Whereas the real world moves and evolves around certain realities of life ranging from theology, wisdom, knowledge, communication, culture, leadership, ethics, and values. The last 20 years has seen the rapid spread of communication technologies through almost every region of the world.   In the analysis of Paul Soukup (2001), the following impact could be noticed.In the past people knew mainly about what they had experienced personally.  Now we have access to much wider world, filtered through reporters, editors, media system yet it seems so natural that we sometimes forget that it is mediated. Mass media tell people what is important in the world.  They tell people not so much what to think, but what to think about. Yet audiences have become sophisticated in their media uses. They select programmes according to their own needs and preferences. For the first time in history, mass mediated communication is now largely uncontrollable.  The internet is a celebration of this freedom.The electronic media are changing our ‘sense of place’.  There is a kind of virtual bilocation for those sitting at home and watching what is happening across the world. Next to sleeping and working, the average person in industrialized countries spends more time with the media than with any other activity.  People are progressively giving up community functions, church devotions, family games and even face-to-face communication in favor of watching television.Different ways and types of communication affect the way people think  This reality I believe, affects our families, formation, and effective mission. Thus this situation calls for a radical change in thinking, theologizing and communication formation and mission. This paper tries to look at the whole scenario from the point of view of communication theology. Communication theology emanates from the contributions of classical theology or traditional theology or academic theology, contextual theology and from the fabric of society, culture and social communication of the Church.
2. Communication in Theological Education ?
The introduction of communication studies in theological education started some 25 years ago at a time when the mass media of communication and above all television had begun to shape the cultural environment in many countries in profound ways. At least this factor was strongly noticed in protestant theological schools. At first there were mainly courses to improve communication skills of prospective pastors. They were often taught in the form of block release, or grouped together with other subjects under practical theology. It was only in the past 15 years or so that communication studies for theologians were systematically planned, and curricula for teaching developed. This led to a shift from skill centered courses to a number of theoretical approaches in communications, which in Europe and USA were heavily geared towards the mass media of communication. In Africa, Asia and Latin America the nexus between communication and culture and communication and social change were emphasized1 .
2.1. What is communication theology?
2.1.1. A Philosophical approach
As Michael Traber envisages, the philosophical base of communication is inter-subjectivity for the purpose of conviviality (enjoying life together). Philosophical anthropology of the last few decades has replaced the notion of the autonomous individual, so dear to the age of enlightenment, with the concept of ‘subject’, which is relational. The subject is defined in its relations to others, to its community and the historical social realities that surround it. Communication, ultimately, is grounded in inter-subjectivity, which reflects the reality that humans are not just individuals but as individuals essentially social beings. To sum up,Communication touches upon all that we are and all that we do.  Communication … constitutes our inter subjectivity.  Through communication one becomes a full human and cultural being.  Culture depends on the common sharing and participation by the members of a community. No community can be established or continue to exist without communication.  

2.1.2. From a Theological point of view
As Eilers observes, a growing number of theologians see communication not just as an activity which needs a theological dimension for its existence or not as just one more area of theology. Rather, communication is reflected and projected as a basic principle and essential dimension of any theology. “Communication here is a theological principle similar to a ‘theologia crucis’ or a ‘theologia gloriae’.”Bernard Lonergan in his “Method in Theology” already saw communication as an essential dimension for all theology.  Avery Dulles, in his Book “The Craft of Theology: from Symbol to System” (1992), further applies Rahner’s concept of God’s self-communication to the whole of theology. He concludes, “theology is at every point concerned with the realities of communication”. He unfolds this further in reference to fundamental theology, the fields of systematic theology (like Christology, Creation, Ecclesiology, eschatology, sacraments), and practical theology, including missiology and pastoral theology.  Concluding with the Trinitarian view he calls Christianity “preeminently a religion of communication, for God in his inmost essence is a mystery of self-communication.  The entire work of creation, redemption and sanctification is a prolongation of the inner processions within the Trinity.”

2.2. Communication Theology as doing Contextual Theology
Ian Ramsey asserts, the need for a ‘classical theology’ which is professional, critical, rigorous, and alongside a ‘contextual theology which addressed specific contemporary problems.  No one can deny that media are an immensely significant part of today’s context and culture’4 . In our own day, the church has embraced the ‘option for the poor’ and recognized the need to include women’s experience articulated within a framework of liberation, feminist-themed theologies, Dalit theology, and Minjung theology.  In this context, communication theology from a Catholic stand point as articulated by Vatican II, is doing theology:•from a position within today’s culture which is defined by communication and information explosion,•with a perspective that seeks to understand the Divine Presence and action in the varied dimensions of this communication culture.In other words, communication theology sees various cultural forms (music, image, symbol, ritual, art etc.) as modalities of communication, as mediations of culture through communication. Today no single system of thought dominates theology as Thomism once did.  Theologians now use many approaches, including Thomism, within the general context set by the Second Vatican Council.  This complexity interfaces with the emerging new communication technologies and their constantly novel applications, to provide abundant grist for the theological mill.  This reflection considers communication in the light of the mysteries of Trinity, Creation, Revelation and Incarnation.
3. Foundations of Communication Theology
i. Holy Trinity – All communication begins with the Trinity which forms a communion of divine persons7 , completely and perfectly one with each other. “Jesus, the word incarnate, reveals the divine life as communication, sharing.
ii. Revelation -This Trinitarian self-communication of God stays not in himself but communicates with and reveals himself to his creatures to make them his partners. Dei Verbum tells us that the mystery of salvation manifested in Jesus is narrated in the New Testament (D.V.17). And gratuitously it is revealed to us.8 . As Paul A. Soukup notes this way of approaching theology through communication builds on a theological anthropology that asks, in a kind of transcendental method, about the conditions for the possibility of communication. The very things that ‘make’ communication work prepare us to receive God’s word of revelation .
iii. Incarnation model – The high point of God’s communication, however, is the Incarnation of his Son: (Heb. 1, 1-3).
iv. Biblical Theological Approach - As Traber elaborates, the creation and covenant stories of the Hebrew Bible and the logos theology of St. John, reveal that God is a communicating God.10 . In the discourse of Legrand, we find that the God of the Bible is ‘a God who speaks’. “Communication is done in words, signs and deeds but also in silence, including the silence of the Cross.”
v. Missiological paradigm  - God is a God of mission. Jesus our Lord has given us the missionary mandate. The wider understanding of mission and missionary activities of the Church are prominent topics in the Church as well as in theological education. The Risen Christ entrusts the Church with his mission: the four Gospels end with the ‘apostolic commission’ (Mt. 28:16ff, Mk.16:14ff, Lk. 24:47-49, Jn. 20;21). “Communicating the Good News is the grace and vocation proper to the church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to communicate the Good News, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of God’s grace”.
4. The  Subject matter of Communication Theology
Soukup asserts that communication theology, that is, a theology attending to and suffused with communication, contributes to our understanding of God, Church, and human life.  Philibert confirms that “the very structures of theological discourse are so linked to the structures of communication that we cannot responsibly do theology without a careful consideration of the theories of communication.” Plude proposed that communication theories will impact theology much the same way as liberation and feminist studies have.  “If we remain frozen in texts and hermeneutics, we will miss opportunities to communicate,” Philibert says.   The following are a few broad areas of concern for further theological reflection, investigations and praxis.
i. God’s self communication, revelation, the whole of salvation history.
ii. Communicating the Word of God
In proclaiming Jesus to the people, we communicate “the full truth about the human person” whose dignity is based on “being an image and likeness of God” empowered by the Spirit of Jesus for the fullness of the Father’s love. The proclamation of the good news in Asia is based on ‘triple dialogue’ (FABC) with the poor, cultures and religions. This involves also all areas of human behaviour, through thought patterns, social and cultural dynamics, environment and modern technology.

iii. Ecclesiology
Avery Dulles in his book entitled The Church is Communications (1971), lists five models of the Church namely. Dulles argues that a “theology of communications is a study of how God brings about the convictions and commitments connected with religious faith”. Dulles proposes the models of the Church; Soukup applies the communication principles to the models. The following schema is self explanatory and exploratory.

iii. Moral Theology
Communication documents of the last 50 years consistently remind us that communication and communication media are gifts from God.  All the modes of communication as gifts from God, as sharing in God’s expression leads us to better understanding of how humans should use them. According to the directives of church documents we need to acknowledge the possibility of sin and to remind us that Jesus teaches that communication is the moral act, thus binding people to integrity of action.

iv. Narrative Theology
One of the theological developments that link communication and theology is the work done in the field of “narrative” or “story theology”. Terrence Tilley, and Angela Zukowski clearly portray the view on communication as narrative theology. The new era of virtual reality and cyber space calls much of our traditional understanding of community, moral discourse and story telling into new perspectives. In cyber space, says Turkle, we can talk, exchange stories, ideas and assume personae of our own creation (e.g. multi user domain, IRC – internet relay chat).

v. Communication Ethics
To be human is to be moral. To be moral is to be human. The good life, therefore, encompasses a vision of the good society. Communication ethics always envisages social justice. Communication ethics reflects the denunciation of a situation of sinfulness or moral degradation, and calls for a life commitment for human and social values amidst chaos and confusions.

vi. Witnessing – Diaconal
Witnessing takes place when human beings give of themselves to others, stand up for them, stand by them in their distress and help them. This type of witnessing is solidarity with the oppressed, the suffering and needy by which the solidarity of Jesus with the poor and weak is carried forward.

vii. Religious Communication
In the communication of faith, the message is my conversion. The message is the whole complex of ministries and conditions that are required for an effect to be produced. The content of the faith message is not primarily the ideas or the teachings of Christ; rather it is those who are being taught in so far as they are reached by Christ and his Church. The Christian purpose is to be the salt of the earth and light of the world.
5. Communication Theology for Formation
If students for the priesthood and religious in training wish to be part of modern life and also be effective in their apostolate, they should know how the media work upon the fabric of society, and also the techniques they use. This knowledge should be an integral part of their ordinary education. Indeed, without this knowledge an effective apostolate is impossible in a society which is increasingly conditioned by the media.  The priest’s role as teacher, leader, animator, facilitator, guide and evangelizer leads him to use all the means of communication at his disposal, argues Soukup, “from interpersonal communication all the way through to the mass media and digital technologies”. Communication, he further suggests, is like God’s self-communication, a mystery. Both personal and church communication must be prepared in silence, in listening to God and to each other.  We must allow freedom to others, setting aside our desires for dominance and power.
Spiritual Communication
Christian communicators need to be men and women of spirit-filled prayer, entering ever more deeply into communion with God in order to grow in their ability to foster communion among their fellow human beings. They must be schooled in hope by the Holy Spirit, the principal agent of the new evangelization.

Pastoral Communication
The consumerist values, self-centeredness, status, power, etc., are gradually swallowing up the Gospel values and only a small percentage of the lay people are able to resist the onslaught of these market values. Therefore in order to engage in an effective pastoral care of the Catholic community, the students need pastoral communication.

Prophetic Communication
The students of theology must understand that to communicate is nothing else but to participate in the prophetic activity so that life may be enriched by dialogue, creativity, imagination and the realization of community. In all this the communicator as a prophet communicates is based on Divine Communication.

Formation for Social Communication
Social communication formation and communication theology recognize that as Christ is the fullness of communication, Christ forms the heart of our own communication.  God has created us in the divine image, in the image of Trinity which communicates and which, through communication, gives life and salvation to all.
6. Communication Theology for Mission
The decree Aetatis Novae says that much of what men and women know and think about life is today conditioned by the media; in fact to a considerable extent, human experience itself is an experience of media. Therefore, the work one does in communications is really among the most important activities in the church today. In our present day context, mission should be carried out in different approaches and methods as follows.

i. Liberation
Paulo Freire proposes, “Development communication should not involve a one way flow of persuasive and informational messages, but rather initiate a dialogue for liberation, a dialogue that is supplemented by religious practice. The result is expanded consciousness and power for everyone involved”28  On the intrapersonal level liberation means inner freedom, right motivation, responsible conviction, and personal conversion. When exercised in an appropriate manner befitting the human spheres, real liberation starts here. Otherwise any number of liberation fronts will be fighting for liberation without achieving their goal.
•At the Interpersonal level attitude of openness and understanding must be created
.•What is needed today for the intra-group communication is goodwill rather than glory.
•Honesty is the best way to realize liberation through  inter-group activities
.•Proclamation of the Word of God, done in the institution, must be for the liberation of humanity.
•In any society, when grassroots level education is materialized, the way will be paved for real liberation and convergence.
•Whether we like it or not, globalization is here to stay. On the Global level liberation can be reached only through innovative, moral, spiritual and educational information.

ii. Development
Development in a community where human rights, dignity, collective and emotional security, are actualized and integrated by the Word of God,  there is immense scope for maintaining the dignity of each and every individual. We have to communicate to develop people, and people will only develop when they communicate. We need to use communication technology for development, as Pope Paul vi said “Development is Peace.”29

iii. Dialogue
 Statistically, a German couple now spends no more than an average of five minutes a day in personal conversation. There is no wonder why relationships collapse. Understanding faith, prayer, relationship, cultural opportunity, values are decisive cues and clues for any type of dialogue, be it personal, inter-faith and inter-religious.    It is important to quote the document of the Pontifical Commission for Inter-religious dialogue. The section  “Dialogue and Proclamation” (1991) presents four kinds of dialogue:
•The dialogue of life, meaning to share the joys and sorrows of life.
•The dialogue of actions, when Christians and non-Christians work together for development and harmony
.•The dialogue of religious experience means sharing our own religious and spiritual wealth, with regard to prayer, faith and the quest for God.
•The dialogue of theological exchange, in which specialists deepen our understanding of their respective religious heritage

iv. Empowerment
Another key dimension for communication theology today is empowerment. Empowerment is defined as the process by which individuals, organizations, and communities, gain control over social and economic conditions30  over democratic participation in their communities.31  There is an increased interest, in local autonomy culture and knowledge, and the defense of localized, pluralistic grassroots movements.32  For our understanding, we could concentrate in these processes: a process of awareness, creativity, respect, leadership, democracy, advocacy, justice and transparency.    
•Awareness is the fruit of contemplation.
•Creativity is a communication skill.
•Respect in interpersonal communication which is a human value for dialogue.
•Leadership guides communication in its proper direction.
•Democracy must be the answer to the cry of the poor and not the prerogative of the dominant to dominate.
•Justice must be a national and international demand to empower the afflicted.

v. Sharing the Good News
The fundamental focus of communication theology is to share the good news of Jesus Christ. And this can be done in several ways as follows:
a. The Direct approach, in which a committed Christian proclaims shares and lives his “faith”      in the Word of God, may lead people to embrace the Christian faith.
b. The Personal “witness” approach, through which everybody comes to know the testimonies of joys and sufferings of a particular person or group, and their way of life through faith, justice and love.
c. “Service” approach like that of our educational, social, developmental, cultural, and recreational programming with a subtext and context of Christian and human values.
d. Charismatic approach where leaders or individuals use the mass media or alternative media to communicate the Gospel.
e. People oriented approach, in which we listen to others. We give the necessary information and speak with those involved. We need to use the technique of observation and the power of praise and apology
f. Art of communication approach: we have to work with local languages and customs. We have to use figures of speech, gripping stories, and body language. We must make use of the folk media, cultural and community media for Christian value formation.
7. Significance of Communication Theology
i. Communication Knowledge
In order to improve the quality and effectiveness of Christian communication the study of communication in its broader sense should be integrated into theological training.33  Moreover today’s society is information society and knowledge based.  “And those who generate knowledge are the ones getting richer. ….. the knowledge component becomes more important. 34
 ii. Communication Spirituality
The domain of communication spirituality rests on the Spirit of Truth.  The Holy Spirit always leads people to new frontiers.  In John  16;13, we read: “When the spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth” The  modern media is one such frontier open to us through the leading of the Holy Spirit.

iii. Communication Skills
The future priests must be trained to some extent in the methods and techniques of communication, for example, speaking, writing, designing, music and art, along with traditional, folk media, electronic media and information technology, rural and family communication, etc.
iv. Communication Leadership
The first basic attitude on the personal level is the “openness to God and others”.  Willingness to learn and listen is another consequence from such openness, which finally equips one for dialogue and to lead and share.  Future ministers must know their audiences, community situation and how to use appropriate means of communication.
v. On Going Formation
 We should create a mind-set for values like honesty, hard work, and humility.  We should make all our efforts at inculturation of our life-style and faith expression. Values of faith formation, a clear, delicate conscience and a right motivation to priesthood alone can make one an effective communicator in Asia.

vi. Communication Theology as Contextual Theology
The assumption of contextual theology is to take a faithful stance.  If we are concerned about text and context, we should also be concerned about hypertext, tele-text and video text. Communication theology aims at understanding these various texts for transformation and liberation.    
8. Conclusion
As a conclusion I would like to stress that communication activities extend the divine into the human in many ways, including electronic, and through this we experience Word, Spirit and ultimately, Father. Through communication, Trinity comes alive and we humans come closer to the living and true God. It is important, however, to not simply instrumentalize the media for sharing our messages. As papal documents note: “The first Areopagus of the modern age is the world of communication” (RM. 37) Communication theology draws inspiration from God’s self communication and calls for a better human, social, pastoral, prophetic, spiritual and an evangelizing communication.  Communication theology strives to study from symbols to culture, from faith to formation, from information to communication, from grassroots to genomics, from electronics to e-generation, and from cyberspace to bioinformatics and biocomputing.

Media in gospel

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Syro malabar church internet mission

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THEOLOGICON Project


THEOLOGICON  is a name derived from the Greek words Theos+Logos+Eikon, referring to God’s self-communication in Jesus Christ, the Word (Logos) and the Image (Eikon) of the Father. Christianity is a religion of communication.

Christian theology originated in the oral culture and has matured in the print (text) culture. Today’s predominant mode of multimedia communications integrate sounds, images and texts to construct and express meanings. It calls for an aggiornamento of the content and method of theology and pastoral communication.

Theologicon is a digital threshold of communication theology.

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