Be good neighbours: communicate! urges Pope Francis

Pope Francis has described the digital highway as a street, which is “teeming with people” who are hurt and in search of hope and salvation. And it is onto this street that the Church – this “bruised Church” – needs to minister.

The Pope’s message for World Communications Day (Sunday 1 June 2014) is entitled ‘Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter’ and it considers how effective the digital environment can be in bringing people closer together. As a positive development, Francis says it can create a sense of unity, can inspire solidarity and generate “a more dignified life for all”. But he also warns against a technological culture that can isolate people who feel left behind. “The world of communications can help us either to expand our knowledge or to lose our bearings,” he writes. Reflecting on the parable of the Good Samaritan, which he calls “a parable about communication”, the Holy Father describes communication as “really being about realising that we are all human beings, children of God. I like seeing the power of communication as ‘neighbourliness’,” he adds.

The best means of creating an “authentic culture” of communications, Pope Francis suggests, is “to dialogue with the men and women of today, to understand their expectations, doubt and hopes”, rather than to bombard them with religious messages. “To dialogue means to believe that the ‘other’ has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective,” he says.

The 48th World Communications Day takes place this year on Sunday 1 June 2014 - the Feast of the Ascension. It is the day when Catholics are asked to reflect on the necessity of fulfilling the command of Jesus to preach the Good News of the Gospel to the whole world and was introduced in the aftermath of Inter Mirifica, the decree of the Second Vatican Council on Social Communications. 

Follow this link for resources provided for World Communications Day 2014 by the Catholic Communications Network of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, including hte full text of Pope Francis' message.