This weekend, Pope Francis met with veteran Vatican journalists to explain the importance of good journalism.

“This is why I encourage you to preserve and cultivate that sense of mission that is at the origin of your choice. And I will do so with three verbs that I believe characterize good journalism: listen, investigate and report.”

He also praised them for being listeners, investigators, and communicators of the truth.

“I also thank you for what you tell us about what goes wrong in the Church, for helping us not to sweep it under the carpet, and for the voice you have given to the victims of abuse: thank you for this.”

Pope Francis did however, give them a reminder of what the Church is and what the Church is not, referring to the apolitical nature of the Church as “a vehicle” of bringing Christ’s Mercy to the world.

“Please, remember also that the Church is not a political organization with left and right wings, as is the case in parliaments. At times, unfortunately, our considerations are reduced to this, with some root in reality. But no, the Church is not this. It is not a large multinational company headed by managers who study at the table how best to sell their product. The Church does not build itself on the basis of its own project, it does not draw from itself the strength to move forward and it does not live by marketing strategies.”

The meeting comes a couple weeks after journalists protested the lack of access to Pope Francis’ first meeting with President Biden.

“Every piece of news, every fact we talk about, every reality we describe needs to be investigated. At a time when millions of pieces of information are available on the web, and when many people obtain their information and form their opinions on social media, where unfortunately the logic of simplification and opposition sometimes prevails, the most important contribution that good journalism can make is that of in-depth analysis.” 

Read Pope Francis’ full address to Vatican journalists here.

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