It’s no good trying to communicate the Gospel if we are not open to encounter the lives and the truth of others’.
That’s the theme at the heart of Pope Francis’ message for the 48th World Communication Day which was presented at a press conference in the Vatican on Thursday.
Entitled ‘Communication at the service of an authentic Culture of Encounter’, the message says effective Christian witness is not about bombarding people with religious messages but about respectfully engaging with their questions and their doubts.
Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen reports:
This is the Pope Francis’ first message for World Communications Day and it offers a profoundly personal and Franciscan vision of the way that modern media technology must help us, not just to connect virtually, but to promote a real encounter with people and ideas that are often very different from own. That’s according to Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications which helps in the drafting of this annual message. A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive and the internet, the message says, offers immense possibilities for encouraging encounter and solidarity. Noting the continuing “scandalous gap between the opulence of the wealthy and the utter destitution of the poor”, the Pope says media can help create a stronger sense of the unity of the human family.
While acknowledging that the internet can isolate and create barricades between people, Pope Francis says the Church must respond with fresh energy and imagination to the challenges of the ongoing technological revolution. He uses the parable of the Good Samaritan to explain how we must see ourselves as true neighbours, ready to take responsibility for the needs of others. Returning to one of his favourite themes, the Pope says our streets are teeming with people who are often hurting and looking for a sign of hope and salvation. It’s not enough to be passersby on the streets and digital highways of our world: rather we must keep open the doors of our churches and our digital environments so that people can enter and the Gospel message can reach to the ends of the earth.
You can download the full text of Pope Francis’ message for the 48th World Communications Day by using the link in the top right-hand corner of this page.
World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican Council (“Inter Mirifica”, 1963), is celebrated in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost – 1 June 2014.
The Holy Father’s message for World Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers – 24 January 2014.
Official website of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications