Personal witness essential for communications
Announcing the theme for the 2011 World Communications Day, the Holy Father has stressed the need to focus on the human person in the modern digital age and in the face of new technologies.
Pope Benedict’s choice of theme – Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age – was released in a Vatican communiqué on 30 September, the Feast Day of St Gabriel the Archangel, the messenger of God and patron saint of communications workers:
“In an age that is largely dominated, and at times conditioned, by new technologies, the value of personal witness remains essential. To approach the truth and to take on the task of sharing it requires the ‘guarantee’ of an authenticity of life from those who work in the media, and especially from Catholic journalists; an authenticity of life that is no less required in a digital age.
“Technology, on its own, cannot establish or enhance a communicator’s credibility, nor can it serve as a source of the values which guide communication. The truth must remain the firm and unchanging point of reference of new media and the digital world, opening up new horizons of information and knowledge. Ideally, it is the pursuit of truth which constitutes the fundamental objective of all those who work in the media.”
Pope Benedict XVI will release his message for the 45th World Communications Day on 24 January 2011 – the feast of St. Francis De Sales, patron saint of journalists.
World Communications Day is the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican Council and, in England and Wales, will be celebrated on Sunday 5 June 2011 – the Feast of the Ascension and the Sunday before Pentecost.
Themes for the past five World Communications Days:
2006: The Media: A Network for Communication, Communion and Cooperation
2007: Children and the Media: a Challenge for Education.
2008: The Media: At the Crossroads between Self-Promotion and Service. Searching for the Truth in order to Share it with Others
2009: New Technologies, New Relationships. Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship
2010: The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word
World Communications Day was established by the Second Vatican Council Decree on the Media of Social Communications, Inter Mirifica, in 1963:
18. Moreover, that the varied apostolates of the Church with respect to the media of social communication may be strengthened effectively, each year in every diocese of the world, by the determination of the Bishops, there should be celebrated a day on which the faithful are instructed in their responsibilities in this regard. They should be invited to pray and contribute funds for this cause. Such funds are to be expended exclusively on the promotion, maintenance and development of institutes and undertakings of the Church in this area, according to the needs of the whole Catholic world.