Pope’s Message for World Communications Day 2006 published

24 Jan 2006


24 JANUARY 2006


“The Media: A Network for Communication, Communion and Cooperation”

Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for World Communications Day, which will
be celebrated on Sunday 28th May 2006, was made public today, the feast
of St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writer’s, editors and journalists.
The theme of the Pope’s message is: “The Media: A Network for Communication,
Communion and Cooperation”.

In his message Pope Benedict XVI says: “The call for today’s media to be
responsible – to be the protagonist of truth and promoter of the peace that
ensues – carries with it a number of challenges. While the various instruments
of social communication facilitate the exchange of information, ideas, and
mutual understanding among groups, they are also tainted by ambiguity. Alongside
the provision of a “great round table” for dialogue, certain tendencies
within the media engender a kind of monoculture that dims creative genius,
deflates the subtlety of complex thought and undervalues the specificity
of cultural practices and the particularity of religious belief. These are
distortions that occur when the media industry becomes self-serving or solely
profit-driven, losing the sense of accountability to the common good.

“Accurate reporting of events, full explanation of matters of public concern,
and fair representation of diverse points of view must, then, always be
fostered. The need to uphold and support marriage and family life is of
particular importance, precisely because it pertains to the foundation of
every culture and society (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, 11). In cooperation
with parents, the social communications and entertainment industries can assist
in the difficult but sublimely satisfying vocation of bringing up children,
through presenting edifying models of human life and love (cf. Inter Mirifica,
11). How disheartening and destructive it is to us all when the opposite occurs.
Do not our hearts cry out, most especially, when our young people are subjected
to debased or false expressions of love which ridicule the God-given dignity
of every human person and undermine family interests?.”

Pope Benedict XVI goes on to say: “To encourage both a constructive presence
and a positive perception of the media in society, I wish to reiterate the
importance of three steps, identified by my venerable predecessor Pope John
Paul II, necessary for their service of the common good: formation, participation,
and dialogue (cf. Rapid Development, 11).

“Formation in the responsible and critical use of the media helps people to
use them intelligently and appropriately. The profound impact upon the mind
of new vocabulary and of images, which the electronic media in particular so
easily introduce into society, cannot be overestimated. Precisely because
contemporary media shape popular culture, they themselves must overcome any
temptation to manipulate, especially the young, and instead pursue the desire
to form and serve. In this way they protect rather than erode the fabric of
a civil society worthy of the human person.

“Participation in the mass media arises from their nature as a good destined
for all people. As a public service, social communication requires a spirit
of cooperation and co-responsibility with vigorous accountability of the use
of public resources and the performance of roles of public trust (cf. Ethics
in Communications, 20), including recourse to regulatory standards and other
measures or structures designed to effect this goal.

“Finally, the promotion of dialogue through the exchange of learning, the
expression of solidarity and the espousal of peace presents a great opportunity
for the mass media which must be recognized and exercised. In this way they
become influential and appreciated resources for building the civilization
of love for which all peoples yearn.”

The Pope concludes his message by saying: “I return to the encouraging words
of Saint Paul: Christ is our peace. In him we are one (cf. Eph 2:14). Let
us together break down the dividing walls of hostility and build up the
communion of love according to the designs of the Creator made known through
his Son!”


Further information:
Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)


* This is Pope Benedict XVI’s first World Communications Day Message.
* World Communications Day is the only worldwide celebration called for
by the Second Vatican Council, and is marked in most countries, on the
Sunday before Pentecost, which this year is Sunday 28th May.
* The full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s World Communications Day message is
available at the following link.