Bishop Duffy welcomes Pope Benedict’s theme for World Communications Day 2010

30 Sep 2009

29 September 2009

Bishop Duffy welcomes Pope Benedict’s theme for World Communications Day 2010:

“The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word”


Bishop Joseph Duffy, Chair of the Communications Commission of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, welcomes the announcement by Pope Benedict XVI today of the theme for World Day of Social Communications in 2010 which is: “The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word”. 

Bishop Duffy said “The Holy Father’s dedication of next year’s World Communications Day is wholly consistent with this being the Year for Priests.  Pope Benedict’s theme invites us to reflect on the role of the priest and his ministry today but within the context of communications.  A major difference between undertaking priestly ministry nowadays compared to previous generations is the extent and influence of communications in our everyday lives.  Today’s digital age is exemplified by the omnipresence and continuing diversification of new media technology.  We must remain alert and continue to grow within this new media environment while being ever-mindful that is must be managed responsibly.

“Communication counts.  While we all warmly remember today the 30th anniversary of the three-day visit of Pope John Paul II to Ireland in 1979, it is worth noting that the success of that special pilgrimage was based on the effective promulgation of the core message to love God and to love your neighbour.”

A communiqué from the Vatican today explains that the aim of the World Communications Day Message for 2010 is “to invite priests in particular, during this Year for Priests and in the wake of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to consider the new communications media as a possible resource for their ministry at the service of the Word.  Likewise, it aims to encourage them to face the challenges arising from the new digital culture.”

The text continues “The new communications media, if adequately understood and exploited, can offer priests and all pastoral care workers a wealth of data which was difficult to access before, and facilitate forms of collaboration and increased communion that were previously unthinkable.”

The communiqué concludes by noting that “if wisely used, with the help of experts in technology and the communications culture, the new media can become – for priests and for all pastoral care workers – a valid and effective instrument for authentic and profound evangelisation and communion.”

Bishop Duffy said “A constant theme of Pope Benedict’s World Communications Messages is evangelisation through the media.  In recent years the Church in Ireland has developed its pastoral outreach via new media technology so that parishes, dioceses and Religious Orders can effectively promote the Good News of the Gospel.  As part of its response to the Year for Priests the Irish Bishops’ website is hosting a special feature comprising material from the Vatican, links to resources, video material from the Vatican’s YouTube channel.  More material will be added as it becomes available.

“World Communications Day is an important date in the calendar of the Universal Church and it was the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican Council.  Whether as media producers or media end-users, we are all stakeholders in this influential sector.  Accordingly, as Catholics, we should be ever vigilant when it comes to supporting or challenging positions taken by, or via, the media, especially if such positions hold implications for the mission of the Church.”

Bishop Duffy concluded: “I look forward to the publication of the detail of Pope Benedict’s message for the 44th World Day of Social Communications on 24 January 2010, the Feast of St Francis de Sales, the Patron Saint of journalists.”

Notes for Editors

  • Bishop Joseph Duffy is Bishop of Clogher and Chair of the Communications Commission of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and a member of its Department of Planning and Communications
  • The 44th World Day of Social Communications will be celebrated on the Sunday before Pentecost Sunday which in 2010 falls on 16 May
  • Previous themes addressed by Pope Benedict in his messages for World Communications Day have been:

– 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


Further information
Martin Long, Director of Communications, 086 1727678
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer, 087 2337797