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30/5/2014 - RMG - 48th World Day of Social Communications

(ANS - Rome) - On 1 June, the Sunday before the feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the World Day for Social Communications. Pope Francis has prepared a special message for the occasion on the theme "Communication at the service of an authentic culture of encounter." In it he exhorts the faithful not to fear the media, but to use them to show their closeness and love.   

The globalized world is getting smaller and it might then seem  easier to be a good neighbour among people. Yet in many cases the distances are deeper than before: "Often we need only walk the streets of a city to see the contrast between people living on the street and the brilliant lights of the store windows.  We have become so accustomed to these things that they no longer unsettle us.”

Technological tools alone are not enough to draw people closer to each other, despite "unprecedented advancements" and the spread of the Internet, which the Pope has called "a gift of God" on account of its potential. On the contrary, in order to achieve real closeness it is necessary to build a true culture of encounter, which requires a willingness not only to give, but also to receive from others.

The Pope's message goes on: “The world of communications can help us either to expand our knowledge or to lose our bearings. (...) We need, for example, to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm. This calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen. We need also to be patient if we want to understand those who are different from us.  People only express themselves fully when they are not merely tolerated, but know that they are truly accepted.”

The question then becomes “How can we be ‘neighbourly’ in our use of the communications media and in the new environment created by digital technology?”And the Pope responds by offering the Good Samaritan, as an example of a good communicator, because not only does he draw close to the other, but he alsotakes care of him.
The Pope points out that digital communication on its own is not enough because humanity needs love. He concludes by stating that “Effective Christian witness is not about bombarding people with religious messages, but about our willingness to be available to others ‘by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence.’”

The full text of the message is available on the website of the Holy See.

Published 30/05/2014

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