Pope's Address to Staff of TV Channel of Church in Italy

«What you want to undertake is the way of honesty»

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Here is a translation of the Pope’s address Monday to directors, staff and family of TV2000.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning. I am sorry for the delay, but there were so many, so many audience. One says a half hour, but then it is 40 minutes, and the other is the same, and so you pay the price. {laughs} Something else: His Excellency spoke of two reasons, of two reasons for requesting this audience, true. However, there is a third that he did not mention. I think – but it is a personal opinion – that you are somewhat jealous because I received the Corallo [Association] and not you. [They laugh] — a bit of jealousy there, no?

I welcome you and thank you for your warm reception. I thank the President of the “Communication and Culture” Foundation and the Director for the greetings they addressed to me. And I greet Lucio, who is in hospital.

You work for the Television Channel of the Church in Italy and, in fact, because of this you are called to live your service with greater responsibility. In this regard, I would like to share with you three thoughts that I have particularly at heart regarding the role of the communicator.

First. The Catholic media has a very demanding mission in regard to social communication: seek to preserve it from all that distorts it and twists it to other ends. Communication has often been subjected to propaganda, to ideologies, to political ends or to control the economy or technology. What is good for communication is, in the first place, parrhesia, namely, the courage to speak face to face, to speak with frankness and freedom. If we are really convinced of what we must say, the words come. If, instead, we are worried about tactical aspects – use of tactics? – our speaking will be artificial, not very communicative, insipid, laboratory talk. And this does not communicate anything. Freedom is also that in regard to fashions, to common places, to pre-packaged formulas, which in the end annul the capacity to communicate. However, every word has in itself a spark of fire, of life. Rekindle that spark so that it comes. Rekindle the words: behold the first task of the communicator.

Second. Communication avoids both “filling” and “closing.” One “fills” when one tends to saturate our perception with an excess of slogans that, instead of initiating thought, annul it. One “closes” when instead of following the long way of understanding, one prefers the brief one of presenting individual persons as if one is able to resolve all problems, or, on the contrary, as scapegoats, on which to unload all responsibility. To run immediately to the solution, without taking the trouble to represent the complexity of real life is a frequent error in an ever faster and not very reflective communication. To open and not close: behold the second task of the communicator, which will be that much more fecund the more it lets itself be led the by action of the Holy Spirit, the only one able to build unity and harmony.

Third. To speak to the whole person: this is the third task of the communicator, avoiding those that, as I have already said, are the sins of media: misinformation, calumny and defamation. These are the three sins of the media. Misinformation, in particular, drives one to say half , and this leads to the inability to make a precise judgment on the reality. A genuine communication is not worried about “striking”: the alternation between catastrophic alarmism and consoling disengagement, two extremes that we see continually proposed again in today’s communication, is not a good service that the media can offer people. One must speak to the whole of persons: to their mind and to their heart, so that they are able to see beyond the immediate, beyond a present that risks being scatter-brained and timorous. Of these three sins – calumny seems to be the most insidious; however, in communication, misinformation is the most insidious because it leads to mistakes, to error; it leads one to believe in only part of the truth.

To rekindle words, to open and not close, to talk to the whole person renders concrete that culture of encounter, so necessary today in an increasingly plural context. We go nowhere with clashes. A culture of encounter must be fashioned. And this is a good work for you. It requires being disposed not only to giving but also to receiving from others.

I know that you are in a phase of re-thinking and re-organizing your professionalism at the service of the Church.  I thank you very much for your work; I thank you for having accepted this work. Therefore, I encourage you and wish for good fruits. I also know that you have a stable relation with the Vatican Television Center  — this is very important for me – it enables you to tell Italy the teaching and activity of the Pope. I thank you for what you do with competence and love of the Gospel. And I thank you for the effort of honesty, professional honesty and moral honesty, which you wish to have in your work. What you want to undertake is the way of honesty.

I entrust you to the protection of Our Lady and of Saint Gabriel the Archangel, the great communicator: he was the most important communicator: he communicated the great news! And, while I ask you to continue praying for me, of which I am in need, I wish you a holy and happy Christmas. And now we pray to Our Lady to bless us. Ave O Mary, …

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
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