Pope urges Catholic journalists to promote truth, respect common good

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

TORONTO (CNS) – Promoting truth and respecting the common good are at the heart of the media's role in modern society, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message to Catholic journalists.

The papal message was read aloud May 28 in Toronto at the opening of the Catholic Media Convention, which brought together more than 400 Catholic journalists.

Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, told the assembly that the pope hoped the convention would underline the importance of promoting truth, goodness and beauty in a world where the ambiguity of progress is increasingly apparent.

The message in the pope's name, signed by Archbishop Fernando Filoni, an assistant secretary of state, underlined that Catholic journalists have a vocation that goes beyond the boundaries of the Church.

They are called upon to "assist all who work in the media to recognize that the value of communication lies in its truthfulness and respect for the common good," it said.

In a speech to the convention, Archbishop Celli said today's rapid technological and cultural changes challenge Catholic journalists to "deep reflection and innovative thinking so that we can better reach out to others and better communicate the good news to all humanity – whether practicing Catholics or non-believers."

He said Jesus Christ always must be at the heart of what the Church proclaims, but "how we present him to a changing world and how we communicate his message needs to be continually reformulated and adapted to the moment and the context."

The archbishop urged Catholic communicators to use modern resources to broaden their reach, but said they should never lose sight of the value of personal witness and one-to-one communication.

He also encouraged reflection on the best way to help quench the "thirst for meaning" felt by many people today. One key task, he said, is to help lead people to moments of solitude in which they confront ultimate questions about life – something that can be difficult in the modern culture of "constant communications and perpetual business."

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