The 50th World Day of Social Communications Day will be celebrated on Sunday 8 May 2016 – the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. Pope Francis has chosen Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter as the theme for 2016. The World Day of Social Communications, which the Church celebrates on 8 May 2016, is the only World Day established by the Second Vatican Council. In 1963 the Council issued the Decree on the tools of social communication, Inter mirifica, which included the proposal that the Church should celebrate a day dedicated to social communications.
Here are some of the key points from Pope Francis’ message for World Communications Day 2016:
- If our hearts and actions are inspired by charity, by divine love, then our communication will be touched by God’s own power.
- As sons and daughters of God, we are called to communicate with everyone, without exception.
- Christians ought to be a constant encouragement to communion and, even in those cases where they must firmly condemn evil, they should never try to rupture relationships and communication.
- Our political and diplomatic language would do well to be inspired by mercy, which never loses hope.
- Mercy can help mitigate life’s troubles and offer warmth to those who have known only the coldness of judgement. May our way of communicating help to overcome the mind-set that neatly separates sinners from the righteous. We can and we must judge situations of sin – such as violence, corruption and exploitation – but we may not judge individuals, since only God can see into the depths of their hearts.
- Our primary task is to uphold the truth with love.
- Listening is never easy. Many times it is easier to play deaf. Listening means paying attention, wanting to understand, to value, to respect and to ponder what the other person says.
- It is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal. Social networks can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society, but they can also lead to further polarisation and division between individuals and groups.
- I pray that this Jubilee Year, lived in mercy, may open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better; and that it may eliminate every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect, and drive out every form of violence and discrimination.
- In a broken, fragmented and polarised world, to communicate with mercy means to help create a healthy, free and fraternal closeness between the children of God and all our brothers and sisters in the one human family.
Read the full text here.