Reject prejudice, leave space for hope in communications, pope says

A statue of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists, stands outside of St. Francis de Sales Seminary in St. Francis, Wis. The feast of St. Francis de Sales is celebrated Jan. 24. (CNS photo | Sam Lucero, The Compass)

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — At a time when the media seem to feed a “vicious cycle of anxiety” and a “spiral of fear,” Christians should respond with honest stories that identify problems and evil, but also inspire real solutions, Pope Francis said.

“Every new tragedy that occurs in the world’s history can also become a setting for good news, inasmuch as love can find a way to draw near and to raise up sympathetic hearts, resolute faces and hands ready to build anew,” the pope wrote in his message for World Communications Day 2017.

Following a long tradition, the pope’s message was released Jan. 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists. The Vatican and most dioceses will mark World Communications Day May 28, the Sunday before Pentecost.

The pope chose “‘Fear not, for I am with you.’ Communicating Hope and Trust in Our Time” as the theme for the 2017 commemoration.

In a letter to directors and editors in chief of a variety of media outlets, Msgr. Dario Vigano, prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for Communications, called for a discussion and debate on the pope’s message and particularly the pope’s call for “constructive forms of communication that reject prejudice toward others and foster a culture of encounter, helping all of us to view the world around us with realism and trust.”

Presenting the letter in the Vatican press office, Msgr. Vigano was joined by Delia Gallagher of CNN for a discussion about the text and about the rapidly changing news media.

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