Today is the memorial of St. Francis de Sales, a wonderful preacher and bishop who preached that everyone is called to holiness. Author of Introduction to the Devout Life, he is the patron of writers and journalists. I believe that is why January 24 is the day that the Pope usually publishes his message for World Communication Day.
Here is a link to Pope Benedict’s message for the 45th World Communication Day, which will be celebrated on June 5, 2011. The message is entitled Truth, Proclamation, and the Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age. It is a wonderful encouragement for Catholics to get involved in the internet, as well as offering wisdom about just how to do that. For those of us already using digital media, the Pope highlights some of the ways that digital media enhances communication–such as the shift from being one way only, from speaker to listener (or mass media to consumer), to understanding that the best communication is circular–a sharing that every person in the communication process contributes to.
Throughout the entire message, Pope Benedict highlights the tremendous potential of the internet and the digital world–both the benefits and the risks. The Pope also takes about being present in the digital world “in a Christian way,” and he highlights some of what this might mean: communicating with honesty, respect, and responsibility. One of the questions he raises is quite provocative: Who is our neighbor in the digital world? And he also talks about the importance of witness in the life of the Christian communicator. It’s amazing that the Pope could fit all of this–a short, profound primer for Christians using the digital media–in only three pages!