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Truth and bridges

This day (May 8) marks the 50th World Communications Day, which is being marked under the theme Communication and Marcy: A Fruitful Encounter.

In his message for the day, Pope Francis points to two important concepts of communication—truth and bridge. He presents afresh a concept from Vatican II which highlights people as the subject of communication over the modern revolution in the technology that has pushed the media into new corners of life.

It points to interpersonal communication as being the basis of every communication task. A Vatican II document entitled the Decree on the Means of Social Communication (Inter Mirifica) describes communication as a person to person social action.

Pope Francis also talks of communication as building bridges and healing wounds, the real power of which lies in its ability to touch human hearts. He says that religious communication must have as its hallmarks truth and love, which can turn social networks into places of mercy, facilitating relationships and sharing.

Bridge refers to the people, who bridge the gap between each other and between the individual person and society. The pope says, “What we say and how we say it, our every word and gesture, ought to express God’s compassion, tenderness and forgiveness for all.”

He then quotes the Gospel of St. John as saying, “… the truth will make you free (John 8:32). The truth is ultimately Christ himself, whose gentle mercy is the yardstick for measuring the way we proclaim the truth and condemn injustice. Our primary task is to uphold the truth with love” (cf. Ephesians 4:15). 

However, he does not ignore the technological revolution, emphasising the significance of the digital world in real life. He says that words “can build bridges… both in the material world and the digital world.”

The pope adds, “The digital world is a public square, a meeting-place where we can either encourage or demean one another, engage in a meaningful discussion or unfair attacks.” He then cautions that the Internet should be used wisely and be open to sharing.

Pope Francis describes the digital world as a meeting place, describing it as shrinking the distance between people amidst an advanced flow of information. He nominates the balance between the interaction social media promotes and the rapid flow of information as the defining value of communication, saying that we should simply ask whether it draws people together or not.

The other balance he looks for is between upholding the truth and the rights of individuals and groups. He says that the question that must be asked here is whether the good of the community is being promoted or not.

World Communications Day reminds us that in our contemporary age, everyone plays a dual role of disseminating and receiving information, as the dissemination of mercy starts with each individual, the family and the Church community. SE