Pope's message for media workers

 Pope John Paul II's Message for the 39th World Communications Day, which will be celebrated on Sunday 8 May, was made public today, the feast of St Francis de Sales the patron saint of writers, editors and journalists. The theme of the Pope's message this year is: "The Communications Media: At the Service of Understanding Among Peoples". In his message the Pope says, "Modern technology places at our disposal unprecedented possibilities for good, for spreading the truth of our salvation in Jesus Christ and for fostering harmony and reconciliation. Yet its misuse can do untold harm, giving rise to misunderstanding, prejudice and even conflict. The theme chosen for the 2005 World Communications Day addresses an urgent need: to promote the unity of the human family through the use made of these great resources. "The media can teach billions of people about other parts of the world and other cultures. Accurate knowledge promotes understanding, dispels prejudice, and awakens the desire to learn more. Images especially have the power to convey lasting impressions and to shape attitudes. "Instead of building unity and understanding, the media can be used to demonize other social, ethnic and religious groups, fomenting fear and hatred. Those responsible for the style and content of what is communicated have a grave duty to ensure that this does not happen. Indeed the media have enormous potential for promoting peace and building bridges between peoples, breaking the fatal cycle of violence, reprisal, and fresh violence that is so widespread today. "If such a contribution to peace making is one of the significant ways the media can bring people together, its influence in favour of the swift mobilisation of aid in response to natural disasters is another. It was heartening to see how quickly the international community responded to the recent tsunami that claimed countless victims. The speed with which news travels today naturally increases the possibility for timely practical measures designed to offer maximum assistance. In this way the media can achieve an immense amount of good." The Pope concludes his message by saying, "My prayer on this year's World Communications Day is that the men and women of the media will play their part in breaking down the dividing walls of hostility in our world, walls that separate peoples and nations from one another, feeding misunderstanding and mistrust. May they use the resources at their disposal to strengthen the bonds of friendship and love that clearly signal the onset of the Kingdom of God here on earth." Source: VIS

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