In his message for World Communications Day 2013 – taking place on Sunday 12 May – Pope Benedict XVI has acknowledged that social networks are not only a tool of evangelisation, but also a factor in human development. They offer virtual spaces where Christians who feel isolated can gather in unity with a global community of believers.
The Holy Father recognises that the digital world is not ‘a parallel or purely virtual world’ but is experienced daily by many – especially young people:
“Social networks are the result of human interaction, but for their part they also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships: a considered understanding of this environment is therefore the prerequisite for a significant presence there.”
Elaborating on themes that he has developed over the past three years, the Pope reflects positively on the opportunities for sharing prayer, meditation and the word of God.
“These networks can also open the door to other dimensions of faith. Many people are actually discovering, precisely thanks to a contact initially made online, the importance of direct encounters, experiences of community and even pilgrimage, elements which are always important in the journey of faith…
“In social networks, believers show their authenticity by sharing the profound source of their hope and joy: faith in the merciful and loving God revealed in Christ Jesus. This sharing consists not only in the explicit expression of their faith, but also in their witness, in the way in which they communicate “choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically”.
The 47th World Day of Social Communications will be celebrated on Sunday, 12 May 2013.
Download the Pope’s full message for World Communications Day by using the link in the top right-hand corner of the page.
Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen spoke to Mgr Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, about the message. Listen using our player to the right of this page.