The spokespersons for bishops’ conferences in Europe gathered in Portugal last week to consider the “media phenomenon” that is Pope Francis.
The June 11-14 meeting gathered some 50 spokespersons or communications directors.
According to a statement from the meeting, “This ‘narrative style’ of Pope Francis, which is consistent with his coherence and authenticity of life as the Successor of Peter, is an opportunity for the whole Church, and paves the way to a genuine dialogue with the world. The Pope has not only won the hearts of people, but he has also changed the attitude of many journalists, who are now more open and ready to listen to the reasons of the Church. Despite this, his communication, which is made of short and concise expressions, entails certain risks, given the simplistic and reductionist nature of the current media culture. Church communicators have the task to continue to tell the whole life of the Church and the proclamation of the Gospel, even against the mainstream media, to avoid falling into a form of cult of personality.”
The spokespersons also considered the upcoming synod of bishops that will consider the family.
With the help of Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, and Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press Office, they studied how to communicate the forthcoming Extraordinary Assembly on the Family.
The discussions emphasised the image of a Church, “that also in this area focuses on transparency, is not afraid of comparison, is ready to face the challenges of history, and presents in a new way the Good News of Christ to the Christian family as the true source of hope and new life,” the statement said.
“In short, the next Synodal Assembly will respond to the clear idea of Synodal governance and to that affective and effective communion of the Bishops’ college with the successor of Peter that Pope Francis has announced since the beginning of his pontificate.”