Posts Tagged ‘Pope Benedict XVI’

‘Back to basics’ seems to be the ‘theme behind the theme’ for next year’s World Communications Day Message.

The Church’s World Communications Day Message is presented in, more or less, three stages each year.  The first stage — this one — is when the theme of the Message is released.  In the second stage, the message itself is made public. This happens on the 24th January, the Feast of St Francis de Sales who is the Patron Saint of Journalists (no coincidence here!).  Then the third stage, World Communications Day itself, takes place on the Sunday before Pentecost.  Next year, World Communications Day will be the 20th May.

Anyone who has been keeping an eye on the themes for World Communications Day — over the last 20 years or so in particular — will have seen a shift in emphasis from TV and Radio through to even more ‘modern means of communication.

The most recent Messages, for example, have dealt with Social Networking and the Facebook phenomenon (2011), and called on the young, in particular — but also priests (2010) — to evangelize what the Pope has dubbed the ‘Digital Continent’ (2009).

Interestingly, in parallel with this increasing emphasis on technological complexity in communications, as typified by social networking, there has also been an increasingly loud call to return to the Source of all Divine Communication, namely God Himself. In 2012, it would appear that this call has become so ‘loud’ as to arrive at silence! The theme for 2012 is Silence and Word: path of evangelisation.

In the heady days of Inter Mirifica and Vatican II, by contrast, the ‘down side’ of the ‘modern means of communications’ did not seem to be fully anticipated and the dangers of getting lost in ‘the cares of this life’ (Mark 4:19) and being ‘conformed to this world’ (Romans 12:2), perhaps, were not given the attention they deserved.

But last year’s call to ‘put on our best (and truest) face’ for Facebook, not allowing our true identities to be mangled and stretched by the workings of the ‘interweb’ is a reminder that the internet is, no less than other contexts, a part of the theatre of salvation, in which the Christian communicator must play out his or her passion, in order to enter into Glory.

It is appropriate, perhaps, then that this year’s Message should be about the role of silence in Communication. It is pre-eminently through silent prayer that the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) of Christ “fully reveals man to man himself” (Gaudium et Spes – Vatican II) .

‘Listen to God and allow others to hear Him, in silence’. How thought-provoking, challenging and truly counter-cultural is the Church’s understanding of 21st Century world communications!


The Pophet Elijah
The Prophet Elijah who heard the ‘still small voice’ of God