This year’s theme, for the 49th World Day of Social Communications, is: “Communicating the family: a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love.” It follows the process of the Synod dedicated to the Family, although it is not a Message on the Family but on the profound relation between the family and communication.
The message was presented today at the Holy See Press Office today. Among those present were Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and Professors Chiara Giaccari and Mauro Magaletti, of the University of the Sacred Heart in Milan.
Archbishop Celli noted that the Pope’s message “is not concerned with the existing problem between the family and communication in so far as related to the new technologies.”
“Instead, he goes to the center of the most profoundly true and human dimension of communication:
– The family, which is the first place where one learns to communicate.
– Communication as a dialogue intertwined with the language of the body.
– The home that houses us is the first school of communication made up of listening and bodily contact, the encounter between two beings (mother and child) is our first experience of communication.”
When asked by ZENIT on how the Pope can combat from a high and positive point against the risks of the Internet, such as pornography, and pedophilia, he said that in regard to “the protection of minors on the Internet the emerging facts leave one disconcerted,” referring to “children surfing the Internet.”
Recourse has been taken “to filters for the protection of minors, but the European data indicates that the majority of families do not use filters to protect them from negative things,” he said.
“What left me impressed is that the strongest interventions in international congresses were those of the French and the Swedish, both oh whom are attentive to this problem,” he added.
The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications noted that for some time he has been working with Bishops on “an appeal to family pastoral ministries for parents to be involved in their children’s search on the digital continent.”
He also said that the Pope is well aware of the existence of the problems regarding social networks. In our society, he continued, “a child spends 3 to 5 hours on the computer alone.” Therefore, he added, the family pastoral ministry must understand how parents help their children to understand this presence and how to be present, and with what responsibility. And although Archbishop Celli is well aware of the great sensibility in the world about this subject, “I still don’t see an ideal way, because the school is limited to teaching the technological aspects,” so a family pastoral ministry is necessary on this.”
Professor Chiara Giaccari added, “as we don’t leave children alone on the street, so we must not leave them alone on these digital streets.”
During the conference, Professor Mauro Magaletti said that the papal message poses two problems: dialogue between different people and a society of communication that becomes self-referential, as well as separated from the idea of truth.
He stressed three points to understand the Pope’s message better: the need to “communicate within a framework, which in the family is concrete love, and in society knowing that there is a common belonging.
Second: communication is difficult and it can fail, and we must learn this, as parents and communicators, because communication needs places of training, which the family is.
Third: communicating is an integral action, not merely technical: the body, the memory, the future — so many modalities, blessing, forgiveness, teaching, prayer.
“Communication is more than what is understood in society today,” because there are “dangers of isolation,” he concluded.