Pope Benedict XVI released the 47th Annual World Communication Day message which is officially announced on May 12th, the Feast Day for Saint Francis de Sales (The Patron Saint of Jounalists). This year’s message is “Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization.” The Pope is encouraging the faithful to use social networks (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest) to engage people in conversation about our Catholic Faith. The Pope has embraced these new technologies for The Year of Faith and for The New Evangelization, and wants you to join the worldwide conversation on the internet. The Pope started his Twitter Account on December 12th, 2012, and currently has 1.4 million people following his Tweets.
Here is an excerpt of the proclaimation document:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As the 2013 World Communications Day draws near, I would like to offer you some reflections on an increasingly important reality regarding the way in which people today communicate among themselves. I wish to consider the development of digital social networks which are helping to create a new “agora”, an open public square in which people share ideas, information and opinions, and in which new relationships and forms of community can come into being.
These spaces, when engaged in a wise and balanced way, help to foster forms of dialogue and debate which, if conducted respectfully and with concern for privacy, responsibility and truthfulness, can reinforce the bonds of unity between individuals and effectively promote the harmony of the human family. The exchange of information can become true communication, links ripen into friendships, and connections facilitate communion. If the networks are called to realize this great potential, the people involved in them must make an effort to be authentic since, in these spaces, it is not only ideas and information that are shared, but ultimately our very selves…
…I pray that God’s Spirit will accompany you and enlighten you always, and I cordially impart my blessing to all of you, that you may be true heralds and witnesses of the Gospel. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15). (link below for entire message)
World Communication Day began with Pope Paul VI in 1967 with the reforms made by Vatican II. The previous theme for World Communications Day was SILENCE. I think silence is an important message that accompanies the current message . It is very important that people find a healthy balance in using social media in their lives. Too many people are spending too much time using Facebook and Twitter, and also need to find a healthy balance to include Face-Time (personal time) with family and friends, and silent time for prayer and contemplation (time with God). There are many demands of our time in this modern age, but social networks can be very beneficial if used wisely. Blessed James Alberione preached that media are gifts of God, and to use them in service to the church. I think it is great that Pope Bendict is showing us all how to use the internet in service to the Church.
I would also like to recommend a great book that I have recently read called Infinate Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media (Emmaus Road Publishing, 2010) by author Eugene Gan. Dr. Gan is currently as associate professor of interactive media & communications at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He bases his book on the many writings from World Communications Days and the Pontifical Council for Communications to form his model: St. Peter’s Seven Media Keys. These seven keys are used to help people form good morals in looking at modern media through Christ’s eyes. This is a must read book for people working in Catholic New Media, and for the consumers of new media. With each key, he asks the reader to pray for a virtue, research the topic, ask questions, integrate in your life, and pass it on to others.
St. Peter’s Seven Media Keys:
1) Balance, pray for the cardinal virtue of temperance
2) Attitude Awareness, pray for the cardinal virtue of prudence
3) The Dignity of the Human Person, pray for the cardinal virtue of justice
4) Truth-Filled, pray for the cardinal virtue of fortitude
5) Inspiring, pray for the theological virtue of hope
6) Skillfully Developed, pray for the theological virtue of faith
7) Motivated by and Relevant to Experience, pray for the theological virtue of charity
With the announcement of World Communications Day, Pope Benedict also release his new App called The Pope App. This App is available on iTunes for FREE for Apple products, and will soon be available for Android products in the coming weeks. This app is a wonderfully made app that offers great communications with Pope Benedict XVI and the news from the Vatican–features included:
- Live video broadcast of Angelus and Announcements (even has countdown to next event)
- Calendar of Pope’s Events
- Listing of the Pope’s speeches and messages
- News from the Vatican powered by News.va, Vatican Radio, and L’Osservatore Romano
- Images Library from Vatican Events
- Video Archive of Vatican Events
- LIVE webcams of St. Peter’s Square, Blessed John Paul II’s Tomb, and Castel Gondolfo
- Pope’s Twitter Feed
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVIFOR THE 47th WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY: