VATICAN CITY, APRIL 24, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address given by Benedict XVI to 5,000 representatives of the media in an audience on Saturday in Paul VI Hall.
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Distinguished gentlemen, dear ladies!
1. It is with pleasure that I meet and cordially greet you, journalists, photographers, television cameramen, and all those, in various capacities, belonging to the world of communication. Thank you for your visit and particularly for the service you have rendered in these days to the Holy See and to the Catholic Church. My cordial greeting to Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, whom I thank for the words he addressed to me on behalf of those present.
It can be said that, thanks to your work, for several weeks the attention of the world remained fixed on the basilica, on St. Peter’s Square and on the Apostolic Palace, within which my predecessor, the unforgettable Pope John Paul II serenely closed his earthly life and where later on, in the Sistine Chapel, the cardinals elected me as his successor.
2. Thanks to all of you, these historically important ecclesial events have had worldwide coverage. I know how hard you have worked, far away from your homes and families, for long hours and in sometimes difficult conditions. I am aware of the skill and dedication with which you have accomplished your demanding task. In my own name, and especially on behalf of Catholics living far from Rome, who were able to participate in these stirring moments for our faith as they were taking place, I thank you for all you have done. The possibilities opened up for us by modern means of social communication are indeed marvelous and extraordinary!
The Second Vatican Council spoke of the great potential of the media. In fact, the council fathers devoted their first document to this theme, and said that the media, “by their nature, are capable of reaching and influencing not only individuals, but whole masses of people, indeed the whole of humanity” (“Inter Mirifica,” No. 1). Ever since Dec. 4, 1963, when the decree “Inter Mirifica” was promulgated, humanity has been witnessing an extraordinary media revolution, affecting every aspect of human life.
3. Conscious of her mission and of the importance of the media, the Church has sought collaboration with the world of social communication, especially since Vatican Council II. Without a doubt, Pope John Paul II was the great author of that open and sincere dialogue, he who, during more than 26 years as Pope, maintained constant and fruitful relations with you who are engaged in social communications. And it was particularly to those responsible for social communications that he wished to dedicate one of his last documents, the apostolic letter of Jan. 24 in which he recalls that “our age is one of global communication, where so many moments of human existence unfold through media processes, or at least must be confronted with them” (“The Rapid Progress,” No. 3).
I wish to continue this fruitful dialogue, and I share what Pope John Paul II observed regarding the fact that “the present development of social communications impels the Church to a sort of pastoral and cultural revision in order that it will be able to address the epochal change in which we are living” (Ibid., No. 8).
4. There must be a responsible contribution by each and all if the instruments of social communication are to render a positive service to the common good. There must be an ever better understanding of the views and responsibilities that their development entails in regard to the reflections that in fact are verified in the conscience and mentality of individuals as well as on the formation of public opinion. One cannot therefore fail to mention the need of references to ethical responsibility on the part of those who work in this sector, especially in regard to the sincere search for truth and the safeguarding of the centrality and dignity of the person. Only on these conditions can the media respond to the plan of God who has put them at our disposition “to discover, use, and make the truth known, including the truth of our dignity and destiny as his children, heirs of his eternal Kingdom” (Ibid., 14).
5. Distinguished gentlemen, dear ladies, I thank you again for the important service you render to society. To each I express my cordial appreciation with the assurance of remembrance in prayer for all your intentions. I extend my greeting to your families and to all those who are part of your community of work. Through the intercession of the heavenly Mother of Christ, I invoke on each of you the abundant gifts of God, in pledge of which I impart to all my blessing.
[Translation by ZENIT]