Here is the speech of Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, at the conference this week on the Arab Christian Media at the Service of Justice, Peace and Human Rights. It was held in Jordan.
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Ladies and Gentlemen
I welcome you to this first conference that is organized by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in cooperation with the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Amman.
We come today after having participated in the Media in East Conference that took place last year in Harissa – Lebanon. We have celebrated in the Vatican the appointment of a new Pope who chose the name Francis. His Holiness Pope Francis said in his first meeting with media professional: “you media professionals are the witnesses of the beauty, the truth and the goodness”. Today we are in the beautiful city of Amman, which represents originality and sets itself to serve the truth under its wise leadership and enlightened people. We gather here today around a necessary, vital and current slogan: “the Arab Christian Media at the Service of Justice, Peace and Human Rights”.
The presence of clergymen alongside political, economic and education experts signifies the importance of media outlets that are indispensable and whose approval and cooperation are much needed in all walks of life. So, lucky he whom the media is pleased with and misfortune he whom the media gets angry with over a mistake he made. The Media is capable of toppling or upholding governments as it is also capable of starting wars and ending others. It is capable of brightening or tarnishing the image of public figures.
Allow me before exploring the significance of this important title to thank once again the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and its President my brother and colleague His Eminence Bishop Claudio Maria Celli, who came from the Vatican to attend this conference. Welcome your Excellency and thank you for the enlightened speech you have just delivered.
Allow me also to greet His Excellency Dr. Mohammad Momani, the Minister of State for Media and Communication of our beloved Jordan. We wish for our wise government further progress under the enlightened leadership of His Majesty and hope that Jordan remains the Kingdom of love and national unity.
I wish also to thank the Patriarchate Media Center: the Catholic Centre for Studies and Media that was inaugurated last year with much hope for the future. We are still at the beginning of the road towards the promotion of the cultivated presence of Arab Christians through their media. Arab Christians in the past and present have always been at the service of their communities and countries.
Last week, His Majesty inaugurated the American University of Madaba, which is a new addition to the contributions of the Patriarchate for the service of the Kingdom and its citizens.
Christian media outlets love freedom and cleanliness; they are not imprisoned to sectarian interests..Christian media loves the truth and the fear of God. The Voice of the Truth is patriotism and a tangible reflection of faith.
The Apostolic Exhortation on Christians of the East: “a Communion and Witness” reads:
“The Christians of the Middle East have the duty and right to participate fully in national life, working to build up their country. They should enjoy full citizenship and not be treated as second-class citizens or believers. As in the past when, as pioneers of the Arab Renaissance, they took full part in the cultural, economic and scientific life of the different cultures of the region, so too in our own day they wish to share with Muslims their experiences and to make their specific contribution.”(No. 25)
Before the signature of the Apostolic Exhortation in Lebanon last year, the Synod recommended more frequent use of Arabic language in the official meeting of the Holy See, so that Arabs can get information in their own mother tongue.
The Work of Arab Christian Media is not limited to the religious dimension as it concerns itself with:
People’s concernsPeople’s fearsAll that can help uphold citizens’ status and dignity.
Once again I thank you all for being present today and thanks to the organizers.
I pray to God to enlighten our minds to serve the Kingdom and the citizens.
Welcome to you all.
Patriarch Fouad Twal