Catholic World News

Communication should be inspired by mercy, Pope says in message

January 22, 2016

The Vatican has released the Pope’s message for the 50th World Communications Day, which takes place on the Sunday before Pentecost.

In “Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter,” Pope Francis wrote that “what we say and how we say it, our every word and gesture, ought to express God’s compassion, tenderness and forgiveness for all.”

“I would like to invite all people of good will to rediscover the power of mercy to heal wounded relationships and to restore peace and harmony to families and communities,” he continued. “All of us know how many ways ancient wounds and lingering resentments can entrap individuals and stand in the way of communication and reconciliation. The same holds true for relationships between peoples.”

Addressing the Church’s pastors, he said:

How I wish that our own way of communicating, as well as our service as pastors of the Church, may never suggest a prideful and triumphant superiority over an enemy, or demean those whom the world considers lost and easily discarded. Mercy can help mitigate life’s troubles and offer warmth to those who have known only the coldness of judgment. May our way of communicating help to overcome the mindset that neatly separates sinners from the righteous. We can and we must judge situations of sin – such as violence, corruption and exploitation – but we may not judge individuals, since only God can see into the depths of their hearts …

Only words spoken with love and accompanied by meekness and mercy can touch our sinful hearts. Harsh and moralistic words and actions risk further alienating those whom we wish to lead to conversion and freedom, reinforcing their sense of rejection and defensiveness.

“Emails, text messages, social networks and chats can also be fully human forms of communication,” he added. “It is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal … 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.”

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