MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR THE 2021 WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY
“Come and See” (Jn 1:46). Communicating by Encountering People Where and as They Are
Pope Francis’ message on this 55th World Day of Social Communications revolves around the invitation to “go and see” that accompanies Jesus’ first encounters with the disciples. It is, he says, “the method of all authentic human communication.”
In a world that has diluted the border between reader and communicator and which has made available to us the possibility of telling what we see and hear, the Pope’s message on this Day may also be for you.
He begins his message by inviting us to “to move beyond the complacent attitude that we “already know” certain things ” and “we need to go and see them for ourselves, to spend time with people, to listen to their stories and to confront reality, It is a suggestion for any communicative expression that wants to be clear and honest.” And continue with five brief reflections: seeing reality, making experience, thanking the bravery of the journalist who goes where no one goes, called to the responsibility on the network and not to supplement the face-to-face with the virtual.
Wear out the soles of shoes
“Each instrument is useful and valuable only if it pushes us to go and see the reality that we would not otherwise know if it networks knowledge that would not otherwise circulate if it allows encounters that would not otherwise occur.”
The Gospels as news stories
“The Christian faith communicates as a direct knowledge, born of experience, not hearing.” Experiences that are narrated with the details that reveal the presence of the one who writes there and the impact that experience had on his life.
Thanks to the bravery of so many journalists… today we know numerous realities that would be silenced in our world because they are from minorities or because they are not of interest to the powerful or because they would fall into oblivion.
“Numerous realities of the planet, even more so in this time of the pandemic, address to the world of communication the invitation to “go and see”. Journalism, as an account of reality, also requires the ability to go where no one goes.”
Opportunities and hidden dangers on the web
“Thanks to the network we have the possibility to recount what we see, what happens before our eyes, to share testimonies. It is a formidable tool, which holds us all accountable as users and as consumers.”
“But the risks of social communication lacking controls have already become apparent to all too.” This pushes us “to a greater capacity for discernment and a more mature sense of responsibility, both when they are disseminated, and when content is received. We are all called to witness the truth: to go, to see, and to share.”
Nothing replaces seeing things at first hand
Because “it does not communicate, in fact, only with words, but with the eyes, with the tone of the voice, with gestures. The word is effective only if you “see”, only if it involves you in an experience, in a dialogue. For this reason the “come and see it” was and is essential”.
“The Gospel is repeated today every time we receive the clear testimony of people whose lives have changed by the encounter with Jesus. For more than two thousand years it has been a chain of encounters that communicates the fascination of Christian adventure. The challenge that awaits us is, therefore, that of communicating by finding the people where they are and how they are.”
Lord, teach us to move beyond ourselves,
and to set out in search of truth.
Teach us to go out and see,
teach us to listen,
not to entertain prejudices
or draw hasty conclusions.
Teach us to go where no one else will go,
to take the time needed to understand,
to pay attention to the essentials,
not to be distracted by the superfluous,
to distinguish deceptive appearances from the truth.
Grant us the grace to recognize your dwelling places in our world
and the honesty needed to tell others what we have seen.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, 23 January 2021, Vigil of the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales
 Periodista español, que nació en 1920 y falleció en 1971; fue beatificado en 2010.