Having received 250 communicators from around the world in the Vatican during a special audience with Church communication specialists on 12 November last, Pope Francis name-checked Father James Martin SJ, the well-known US-based Jesuit, author and editor-at-large of America magazine, as “a man who has values, Christian and human values” and “a communicator who knows how to teach you to communicate with God.” Father Martin is also a consultant to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications.
In his unscripted speech, Pope Francis highlighted the importance of “the communication of values” and said: “We cannot descend to a communication devoid of values. We must communicate with our values … Christian values, the values that are behind it, the values that teach us to go forward.”
He continued, “To be a communicator with values is this: to go, to walk, to risk, convinced that I am giving my life with my values, Christian values and human values.” He cited Father Martin as an example.
Pope Francis further advised Church communicators not to rely too heavily on technique, stating, “Beware not to slip into technique alone because this will lead you to a sterile communication, devoid of values, and then you can fall into the hands of the consultants or ideologies of the moment.”
The Dicastery for Communication was instituted by Pope Francis with his Motu Proprio on the current context of communications on 27 June 2015. The new Dicastery was entrusted with the task of the overall reorganization of the entire communications system of the Holy See, thus becoming the single point of reference for communication.