no. 1   january - march 2006

Message for 40th World Day of Social Communications
Pope Says Media Must Focus on Truth

The Vatican released Pope Benedict’s message for this year’s World Day of Social Communications, in which he said that the media can and should be used as a tool to foster the dignity of the human person and promote truth and peace.

The World Day of Communications is scheduled for 28 May. The theme for this year is: "The Media: A Network for Communication, Communion and Cooperation." The document’s release took place on January 24, Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists.

In his message, the Holy Father reflected that technological advances in the media "have in certain respects conquered time and space, making communication between people, even when separated by vast distances, both instantaneous and direct".

He said that while this development "presents an enormous potential for service of the common good," that "...daily we are reminded that immediacy of communication does not necessarily translate into the building of cooperation and communion in society."

Stressing that the informing of consciences is "never a neutral task," Benedict called on those working in the media "not to wilt under the weight of so much information nor even to be content with partial or provisional truths."

While warning against the industry becoming self-serving or engendering "a kind of monoculture that dims creative genius … and undervalues the specificity of cultural practices and the particularity of religious belief", the Pope said that it is possible for "today’s media to be responsible - to be the protagonist of truth and promoter of the peace that ensues."

Information Age Needs Christ, Says Archbishop Foley
Vatican Official Addresses Convention on Church and Technology

The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications appealed to the faithful and to media and information-technology professionals to make Christ present in today’s informed society.

"How can the Church of Christ make itself heard by the modern spirit, so proud of its accomplishments and at the same time so concerned about the future of the human family?" asked Archbishop John Foley according to published reports.

He said that the Church is faced with a cultural battle, which suggests various models of the human person, society and values.

Given this reality, "the Church cannot and must not let the ‘face of Christ’ be absent from this scene," he said. "It has the mission to witness by word and deeds to the best news that man can receive."

The internet has posed the serious challenge of the so-called digital gap, given that only 7% of the world’s population has access to this means, and half of them are in the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan, he added.

In their ideologies, some international organizations seek to work for "digital integration," affirming human and democratic rights. However, according to Archbishop Foley, this cannot be accomplished solely on the basis of technology and economics, as the one who acts in today’s informed society is the human person.

Today’s informed society would be empty if it was unaware of the human, ethical and spiritual factors that sustain it, the archbishop said.

He added: "We are open to the Holy Spirit to put technological instruments at the service of the human person, of communities, and of communion and progress."