Today is the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists. And today the Vatican published the message of Pope Benedict XVI for the 40th World Day for Social Communications, which will be celebrated on 28 May 2006. As I have said in my previous post, the main objective of the yearly celebration is for the Church to make her own contribution to the orderly development of the world of social communications: a contribution of inspiration, encouragement, exhortation, guidance and cooperation.
The theme for this year’s World Day for Social Communications is “The Media: A Network for Communication, Communion and Cooperation.” In his message, the Pontiff recognizes that the technological advances in the media not only makes communication between people both instantaneous and direct but also presents an enormous potential for service of the common good.
The Holy Father outlined three steps to encourage both a constructive presence and a positive perception of the media in society. The first step is formation. In order to help people utilize the media both intelligently and appropriately, Pope Benedict XVI says that formation is needed in the responsible and critical use of the media.
The second step is participation. Stressing that “participation in the mass media arises from their nature as a good destined for all people,” the Pope states that “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.”
And the third step is dialogue. And the Holy Father points out that dialogue can be achieved “through the exchange of learning, the expression of solidarity and the espousal of peace.”