Pope Francis: Family should be a School of Communication

Pope Francis: Family should be a School of Communication

“Pope Francis urged families to put their gadgets aside and re-engage in conversation.” In this way, CBS News, one of the four largest television networks in the United States, summarized the Message of Pope Francis on the World Day of Communications. Traditionally this message is repeated every year on January 24, in honor of the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists. Since it is not a great novelty, it is no surprise to find the first mention of this message and its content on the third page of Google’s search results.

In order of their appearance on Google, the second mention from commercial news sites comes from Daily News in New York, stating: “Pope Francis tells the faithful to go easy with their cell phones and shun social media in favor of face time. Today’s great challenge, he says, is to learn how to talk to each other, ‘not simply how to generate and consume information.” This search result appears on the fifth page of Google.

On the other hand, the news was certainly given a great deal of space and visibility in Catholic media outlets, out of deference to the Pope’s authority, which is not only moral. Their analyses can be summarized by this phrase: “For Pope Francis, the family is, and should be, a school of communication.”

There is no conflict between the two ways of reporting news, in as much as they are different approaches to reading the same message. The target audience is different, and so too, their interests. Consequently, the way to attract their readers’ attention is also different. Fortunately, the Pope’s message was not scandalous or innovative in such a way that it could raise other interpretations, which would have improved its position on Google’s online search of the secular media. That is to say, it would have gained greater attention by the media in general.

Going beyond the technicalities of news coverage and moving to substance, my suspicion is that this message belongs entirely to the Pope. Incidentally, we shouldn’t be scandalized by the fact that a Pontiff doesn’t write everything that he reads. There is not a head of state in the world capable of personally writing all his speeches. Naturally they read them, share them, and approve them. Sometimes however, you see the hand of the speaker more than that of the ghost-writer.

Regardless of the different lenses through which the news can be read, Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Communication without a doubt exudes great love for the family—the family as a concrete reality, not as an “abstract concept” to use in cultural battles. A very human sensitivity towards communications emerges: honest, unfiltered, with both errors and corrections, and requests for forgiveness when someone is hurt by words or when mistakes are made. In other words, the type of communication that is mediated by our own “bodies” is reflected, precisely like the relationship between a mother and a child in her womb. It is also the relationship of another kind of womb, the family. Link

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