Yesterday, Pope Francis sent a message to members of the Catholic Press Association, who are holding their first ever virtual Catholic Media Conference because of the coronavirus pandemic since their founding over 100 years ago.
With the pandemic in mind, Pope Francis began by expressing his closeness to “to those who have been affected by the virus and to those who, even at the risk of their lives, have worked and continue to work in assisting our brothers and sisters in need.”
He went on to appeal to journalists of the Catholic Press Association and implore them to help break down the barriers of misunderstanding between people.
“We need media capable of building bridges, defending life and breaking down the walls, visible and invisible, that prevent sincere dialogue and truthful communication between individuals and communities.”
Not referring to what is being called the ‘racial injustice reckoning’ in the United States specifically, Pope Francis said “these past months” have shown the importance of the media.
“The experience of these past months has shown how essential is the mission of the communications media for bringing people together, shortening distances, providing necessary information, and opening minds and hearts to truth.”
During these times, members of the media need “conviction” in order to “protect communication from all that would distort it or bend it to other purposes,” said Pope Francis.
“How urgently is this needed today, in an age marked by conflicts and polarization from which the Catholic community itself is not immune. We need media that can help people, especially the young, to distinguish good from evil, to develop sound judgments based on a clear and unbiased presentation of the facts, and to understand the importance of working for justice, social concord and respect for our common home.”
To that end, Pope Francis said they would also need the gaze of the Holy Spirit, and “only with that gaze can we effectively work to overcome the diseases of racism, injustice and indifference.”
He ended, urging all to “pray together for reconciliation and peace in our world.”
Read Pope Francis’ full message to the Catholic Press Association here on the Vatican website.