Pope invites Italian Catholic communicators to go against the flow

Pope Francis meets journalists of the two Catholic TV and radio broadcasting networks of the Italian bishops, and encourages them to continue to communicate the Church's closeness to the most vulnerable and marginalized.

By Lisa Zengarini

Amid the “vortex of technological innovation” taking place in the world of communication and information, including now artificial intelligence, Catholic communicators must never lose sight of their fundamental mission of bringing “the light of hope” to the darkness that surrounds us.

Pope Francis stated this point as he welcomed to the Vatican on Monday the managers and employees of TV2000 and the inBlu2000 Catholic broadcasting networks owned by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of their foundation.

Noting that “communication and information always have their roots in the human,” the Holy Father highlighted, for those attending the audience, three key words for their work.

Closeness vs the  “dominant logic” of power-focused media

The first word was “closeness.”  “Every day, through television or radio,” said the Pope, “you draw near to many people, who find in you friends from whom they can receive information, with whom they can spend pleasant time, or discover new realities, experiences, and places.”

He therefore encouraged the Italian Catholic communicators “to continue to create networks, to weave bonds,” to tell about the beauty and good of their communities, and to put in the foreground those who are on the margins of society, rejecting the “dominant logic” complacent to power that leads even to “creating fake news.”

“Never forget those who are on the margins, the poor, those who are alone, and the discarded people,” the Pope said.

“I like to think that closeness is one of the qualities of God, who became close to us. There are three things that make us see God: closeness; He becomes our neighbour; tenderness: God is tender; compassion: He always forgives.”

Go against the flow with the heart

The second key word Pope Francis cited was “heart.”

“Never separate facts from heart!” he urged. “Everything starts from there,” as it is the heart that “makes closeness possible.”

He, therefore, invited those present to have the “courage” (whose root, “cor,” he noted, in Latin means “heart”)  to “go against the flow”.

“Those who have heart also have the courage to be different, without however becoming argumentative or aggressive; to be credible, without claiming to impose their point of view; to be a bridge builder.”

“We can think of a communicator as a bridge, because the communicator is necessarily a builder of bridges.”

Responsibility

Finally, Pope Francis spoke about “responsibility”.

“Everyone,” he said, “must do their part to ensure that every form of communication is objective, respectful of human dignity, and attentive to the common good.”

“You are called to be messengers who inform with respect and competence, counteracting divisions and discord. And always remembering that the person is at the centre of every service, of every article, of every programme.”

Concluding, Pope Francis reiterated his call on the journalists of Sat2000 and Radio inBlu to continue to communicate “with closeness, the heart, and responsibility”, recalling the words of Saint Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists and writers.

“It is not for the greatness of our actions that we please God, but for the love with which we perform them.”