4 Keys for Media Are Spelled Out

Archbishop Foley Addresses Gathering of Peace Communications Network

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ROME, JUNE 17, 2004 (Zenit.org).- To be truthful, to contribute to justice, to serve freedom and to transmit a «superabundance of love» are the keys for the media to foster peace, a Vatican official says.

Archbishop John Foley, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, expressed these convictions last Saturday when addressing a meeting of representatives of religious communities involved in the «Peace Communications Network.» The meeting was held at the generalate of Christian Brothers in Rome.

Last year, on the 40th anniversary of John XXIII’s encyclical «Pacem in Terris,» John Paul II chose as the theme of the World Communications Day «The Communications Media at the Service of Authentic Peace in the Light of ‘Pacem in Terris,'» Archbishop Foley mentioned.

In this context, the Pope recalled that his predecessor John XXIII «had identified as the four pillars of authentic peace: truth, justice, freedom and love.»

«First, we have to guarantee that our own communications and those of the media are truthful,» Archbishop Foley exhorted. «In that way, they can render a wonderful service; otherwise, they can sometimes be used in the service of narrow interests, national, ethnic, racial or religious prejudices.»

«Second, we have to guarantee that our own communications and those of the media contribute to justice,» he said.

In this line, he quoted John Paul II’s words: «By accurately reporting events, correctly explaining issues and fairly representing diverse points of view, the media have a strict duty to foster justice and solidarity in human relationships at all levels of society.»

«This does not mean glossing over grievances and divisions, but getting at their roots so that they can be understood and healed,» the Pope wrote.

«Third, regarding freedom, Pope John Paul II said: ‘If the media are to serve freedom, they themselves must be free and correctly use that freedom. Their privileged status obliges the media to rise above purely commercial concerns and serve society’s true needs and interests,'» Archbishop Foley added.

He quoted the Pope: «As a practical matter, ways must be found to give the weaker sectors of society access to the information which they need for their individual and social development, but also to ensure that they are not excluded from having an effective and responsible role in deciding media content and determining structures and policies of social communications.»

«Obviously, overcoming the so-called digital divide is part of that freedom for which we should work,» the archbishop emphasized.

«Finally, regarding love, Pope John Paul II noted just two years ago at the Shrine of Divine Mercy outside of Krakow that ‘where hatred and the thirst for revenge dominate, where war brings suffering and death to the innocent, there the grace of mercy is needed in order to settle human minds and hearts and to bring about peace,'» the president of the Vatican dicastery said.

Therefore, «communication for peace should involve not the advocacy of a balance or preponderance of power but of a superabundance of love,» Archbishop Foley stressed.

He concluded: «Communication for peace — just as peace itself — must be based upon truth, justice, freedom and love.»

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