Truth and Solidarity in Media Are Weapons of Peace, Pope Says

Sends Message to Social Communications Meeting

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 25, 2003 ( John Paul II said that truth and solidarity are two key elements that enable media professionals to become promoters of peace.

The Pope made this statement today when he addressed the participants in the annual plenary meeting of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

“Truth and solidarity are two of the most efficacious means available for overcoming hatred, resolving conflict and eliminating violence,” the Holy Father stressed.

“They are also indispensable for re-establishing and strengthening the mutual bonds of understanding, trust and compassion that unite all individuals, peoples and nations, regardless of their ethnic or cultural origin,” he said.

“In short, truth and solidarity are necessary if humanity is to succeed in building a culture of life, a civilization of love, a world of peace,” the Pope continued.

The Pontiff’s reflection was inspired by the topic chosen for World Communications Day, “The Communications Media at the Service of Authentic Peace.” The day will be observed June 1 this year.

With this message, John Paul II wished to make a further contribution to the 1963 encyclical “Pacem in Terris,” written at the height of the Cold War. At the time, Pope John XXIII made an appeal for “‘fairness and impartiality’ in the use of the ‘instruments for the promotion and spread of mutual understanding between nations.'”

John Paul II said that the “fundamental moral requirement of all communications” to attain this objective “is respect for and service of the truth.”

“Freedom to seek and speak what is true,” he said, “is essential to human communication, not only in relation to facts and information but also, and especially, regarding the nature and destiny of the human person, regarding society and the common good, regarding our relationship with God.”

“This is the challenge facing the men and women of the media,” and the task of the Council for Social Communications is “to assist and guide them in responding positively and effectively to this obligation,” the Holy Father concluded.

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