Here is a translation of the Pope’s address to those present, after the greeting of the President of RAI, Anna Maria Tarantola.

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Dear Madam President,

Dear Directors and Dependents of RAI,

I welcome you all. Thank you for having come in such numbers. This is a numerous family! And thank you to the President for her words, which I greatly appreciated.

This meeting is inserted in the framework of the 90th anniversary of the beginning of RAI’s radio broadcasts and the 60th of those of television. And it is significant that representatives of some public radio-televisions are present, and of Associations of this sector of other countries. The two anniversaries offer the occasion to reflect on the relation that has existed in these decades between RAI and the Holy See, and on the value and exigencies of the public service.

The key word that I would like to put in evidence immediately is collaboration. Through RAI’s public service, whether on the side of radio or that of television, the Italian people have always been able to accede to the words and, subsequently, to the images of the Pope and of the events of the Church in Italy. This collaboration takes place with the two Vatican entities: Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Center.

In this way, RAI has offered and still offers the users of its public service the possibility to follow be extraordinary or ordinary events. We think of the Second Vatican Council, of the elections of Pontiffs, and the funeral of Blessed John Paul II. However, we also think of the many events of the Jubilee of 2000, the different celebrations as well as the Pope’s pastoral visits in Italy.

The 50s and 60s were a time of great development and growth for RAI. It’s good to recall some steps: in those decades RAI covered the whole country with its broadcasts. Moreover, the State firm was committed to the formation of its Directors, including those abroad. Finally, productions increased, among which were also those of a religious character: we recall, for instance, Liliana Cavani’s film Francesco in 1966, and Roberto Rossellini’s Acts of the Apostles in 1969, the latter with the collaboration of Father Carlo Maria Martini.

Also with many other initiatives, RAI, therefore, was a witness of the processes of change of Italian society in its rapid transformations, and it contributed in a special way to the process of linguistic-cultural unification of Italy.

Hence, we thank the Lord for all this and carry forward the style of collaboration. However, the recollection of a rich past of conquests calls us to a renewed sense of responsibility today and tomorrow. The past is the root; history becomes the root of new impulses, root of the present challenges, and roots of a future, of a going forward! May the future not find us without the responsibility of our identity. May it find us with the root of our history and always going forward. To all of you here present, and to those who for different reasons were unable to take part in our meeting, I remind that your profession, in addition to being informative, is formative; it is a public service, that is, a service to the common good. It is a service to truth, a service to goodness and a service to beauty. All the professions that are part of RAI, directors, journalists, artists, employees, technicians and workers know that they belong to a firm that produces culture and education, which offers information and shows, gathering at every moment of the day a good part of Italians. It is a responsibility that those who are officials of the public service cannot abdicate for any reason.

The ethical quality of communication is, in the last analysis, the fruit of attentive, not superficial consciences, always respectful of persons, be it those who are the object of information, be it the recipients of the message. Each one, in his own role and with his own responsibility, is called to watch, to keep high the ethical level of communication, and to avoid those things that do so much evil: disinformation, defamation and calumny. He is called to maintain the ethical level.

To you, directors and dependents of RAI, to your families, as well as to the welcome guests of this meeting, I give my most cordial good wishes for the year that has just begun. I hope you will work well and put trust and hope in your work, to be able also to transmit it: there is so much need!

To RAI and to other Networks and Associations represented here, I express the hope that, pursuing their end with determination and constancy, they will always be able to put themselves at the service of the human, cultural and civil growth of society. Thank you.

[Original text: Italian]

[Translation by ZENIT]