John Paul II Makes Appeal to Catholic Newspapers

Receives in Audience Assembly of Italian Federation of Weeklies

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 3, 2004 ( John Paul II appealed to Catholic newspapers to be agents of the «civilization of love,» when he met participants from an assembly of a media federation.

«The contribution of Catholic journalists is more precious than ever today both at the pastoral as well as the cultural and social level,» the Pope said during an audience with 200 participants from the assembly of the Italian Federation of Catholic Weeklies.

«Thank you for the service that you offer, with your newspaper publications, to the building of the civilization of love,» the Holy Father said. «In the era of global communication, your mission is increasingly difficult. Do not be discouraged, beloved, by the difficulties you meet.»

According to the Pope, Catholic newspapers, particularly weeklies, «breathe into families, parishes and cities the Christian values that form a great part of the spiritual patrimony of the Italian people.»

«I am thinking, in particular, of the protection of human life in its integrity, of marriage and the family, which in a misunderstood culture of ‘personal rights’ tends to de-nature; I am thinking, finally, of the values of truth, justice and solidarity,» he said.

«Continue resolutely to proclaim the Gospel of truth and of hope from those pulpits which your diocesan weeklies are, remaining always open to the wide perspectives of the universal Church,» the Pope exhorted.

Before taking leave of the journalists, John Paul II gave them two pieces of advice.

«To be able to carry out your mission fully, pay attention first of all that you yourselves are not lacking the necessary spiritual food of prayer and of an intense sacramental life,» he said.

«Be concerned as well with enriching your ethical and cultural formation, so that your convictions are kept in harmony with the Gospel and are not diverted by the prevailing pernicious tendencies of a certain modern culture,» the Pope added.

The Italian Federation of Catholic Weeklies, established in 1966, comprises 143 diocesan periodicals with a circulation of 1.14 million copies. The Italian episcopal conference is the main shareholder of the newspaper Avvenire.

Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, addressed the assembly. He expressed his closeness to the participants, and mentioned that he was once director of a U.S. diocesan newspaper.

«People need sources of information on the Catholic Church that are complete and authentic,» he said. «Catholics must be constantly updated on the teaching of the Church and on the way it adapts in our life of today.»

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