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Positive communication is the way to achieve justice and peace, as Peter Kearney, director of the Catholic Media Office in Scotland reflects ahead of Communications Sunday.
On Sunday 28th May 2017, the church will mark World Communications Day for the 51st time. It provides an opportunity for the universal church to consider how and why we communicate, with one another and with the world beyond the catholic community.
Communication is at the heart of all that we do. We share information, emotion, ideas and experiences every day. Our faith is based on the communication of God’s message to humanity, namely that God is love. It is not a coincidence that St John refers to Jesus as the “Word” made flesh. (John: 1,14).
In his message for World Communication Day this year, the Pope Francis asks us to focus on our everyday communication. He says: “I would like to encourage everyone to engage in constructive forms of communication that reject prejudice towards others and foster a culture of encounter, helping all of us to view the world around us with realism and trust.”
It would be easy to see that message as directed primarily at “others”. But the Pope does not address it only to politicians or journalists or webmasters or broadcasters … he directs it to every member of the Church….to you and to me.
He asks us to consider these questions:
Do I engage with other people constructively?
Do I reject prejudice? Really reject it? Not tolerating it even a little?
Do I try to promote encounter and dialogue? How?
Do I help others to see the world with realism and trust?
The Church calls us to be active in shaping our culture for the better. One of the most important ways the Church tries to do this is through its engagement with the media – both the traditional means of newspapers, radio and TV, and through the web-based media. In recent years, the Church has used social media to communicate ever more effectively both to those within the Church and to those beyond its formal membership. Never in history has it been easier for Catholics to keep up with the activities, homilies and addresses of the Holy Father and of the bishops; to find out what’s happening locally; and to share information about new initiatives or inspiring words and thoughts.
The Church needs to be present in the life of our society and She communicates largely through the various forms of media. I hope you will help us keep our presence strong and effective by supporting the second collection for Communications Sunday on 27 & 28 May, which funds the work of the Catholic Media Office, which represents the Church in a challenging media context and with moderate resources.
In all of this, let us act with hope and trust. As Pope Francis reminds us: “Confidence in the seed of God’s Kingdom and in the mystery of Easter should shape the way we communicate. This confidence enables us to carry out our work – in all the different ways that communication takes place nowadays – with the conviction that it is possible to recognize and highlight the good news present in every story and in the face of each person.”