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At the Rhetorical Crossroads : Christmas Messages of Croatian Bishops / Kišiček, Gabrijela ; Nikolić, Davor.

By: Kišiček, Gabrijela.
Contributor(s): Nikolić, Davor [aut].
Material type: ArticleArticlePublisher: 2016Description: 50-51 str.Other title: At the Rhetorical Crossroads : Christmas Messages of Croatian Bishops [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.03 | audience, Christmas message, deliberative genre, epideictic genre, rhetoric | audience, Christmas message, deliberative genre, epideictic genre, rhetoric In: Days of Ivo Škarić: 3rd International Conference on Rhetoric / Dani Ive Škarića: Treća međunarodna konferencija o retorici str. 50-51Summary: Christmas messages are common and recognizable rhetorical genre, most often described as belonging to ceremonial (epideictic) type of rhetoric. They are usually delivered by heads of state and in that form they can be considered as a form of the state-of-the-nation speech. On the other hand, Christmas messages delivered by members of high clergy (bishops, archbishops, cardinals) should be oriented primarily towards the believers and not the nation in general. In this view, the first type of Christmas messages would belong to political and the other type to religious discourse. This strict dichotomy seems to exist only theoretically because Christmas messages delivered by Croatian bishops are often considered to bear special political messages, not just for the citizens of Catholic faith but more importantly for the state officials and media. If Christmas messages of Croatian bishops are using elements of political discourse, the question arises whether these messages on occasions leave the ceremonial genre by employing elements of deliberative rhetorical genre. In Aristotle’s view epideictic type of rhetoric is addressed to a general audience, directed to praising honor and virtue, censuring vice and weakness, while deliberative type is directed to those who must decide on a course of action and is typically concerned with what will turn out to be useful or harmful. Christmas messages as a strict ceremonial genre should affirm positive values and praise the virtues while condemning shameful and negative values. Universal positive values expected to be amplified in Christmas messages are family, charity and peace. Emphasizing specific national, political or cultural problems and offering (or just implying) potential solutions is a characteristic of deliberative genre and it was expected to be found in these messages, which would affirm the transitional character of these speeches. The analyzed corpus consisted of ten Christmas messages delivered by Croatian Catholic bishops in 2015. Messages were available on the official YouTube channel of diocese and all of them were originally broadcast through various national, regional or local television companies. Due to the 2015 migrant crisis in Europe, economy and post-elective political crisis in Croatia it was assumed that bishops will refer to it with the intent to influence the course of action. The other important fact was that the Catholic Church declared Holy Year of Mercy from December 8th 2015 until November 20th 2016 so it was assumed that the bishops (in the ceremonial rhetorical manner) will try to persuade audience to celebrate mercifulness, grace, empathy, fairness. The rhetorical crossroads of Christmas messages was detected not just on the level of genre or discourse, but also by recognizing two audiences to which these messages are addressed. Ceremonial rhetorical type is reserved for the explicit, primary audience (Catholics) while elements of deliberative rhetoric are used both for Catholic flock and for the political elite (the implied audience).
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Christmas messages are common and recognizable rhetorical genre, most often described as belonging to ceremonial (epideictic) type of rhetoric. They are usually delivered by heads of state and in that form they can be considered as a form of the state-of-the-nation speech. On the other hand, Christmas messages delivered by members of high clergy (bishops, archbishops, cardinals) should be oriented primarily towards the believers and not the nation in general. In this view, the first type of Christmas messages would belong to political and the other type to religious discourse. This strict dichotomy seems to exist only theoretically because Christmas messages delivered by Croatian bishops are often considered to bear special political messages, not just for the citizens of Catholic faith but more importantly for the state officials and media. If Christmas messages of Croatian bishops are using elements of political discourse, the question arises whether these messages on occasions leave the ceremonial genre by employing elements of deliberative rhetorical genre. In Aristotle’s view epideictic type of rhetoric is addressed to a general audience, directed to praising honor and virtue, censuring vice and weakness, while deliberative type is directed to those who must decide on a course of action and is typically concerned with what will turn out to be useful or harmful. Christmas messages as a strict ceremonial genre should affirm positive values and praise the virtues while condemning shameful and negative values. Universal positive values expected to be amplified in Christmas messages are family, charity and peace. Emphasizing specific national, political or cultural problems and offering (or just implying) potential solutions is a characteristic of deliberative genre and it was expected to be found in these messages, which would affirm the transitional character of these speeches. The analyzed corpus consisted of ten Christmas messages delivered by Croatian Catholic bishops in 2015. Messages were available on the official YouTube channel of diocese and all of them were originally broadcast through various national, regional or local television companies. Due to the 2015 migrant crisis in Europe, economy and post-elective political crisis in Croatia it was assumed that bishops will refer to it with the intent to influence the course of action. The other important fact was that the Catholic Church declared Holy Year of Mercy from December 8th 2015 until November 20th 2016 so it was assumed that the bishops (in the ceremonial rhetorical manner) will try to persuade audience to celebrate mercifulness, grace, empathy, fairness. The rhetorical crossroads of Christmas messages was detected not just on the level of genre or discourse, but also by recognizing two audiences to which these messages are addressed. Ceremonial rhetorical type is reserved for the explicit, primary audience (Catholics) while elements of deliberative rhetoric are used both for Catholic flock and for the political elite (the implied audience).

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