Pope tells journalists: have integrity, seek truth, offer hope

 Eighty members of the International Catholic Union of the Press, meeting in Rome to celebrate the organization's 75th anniversary, were welcomed on Friday by the Holy Father who remarked on the group's great growth over the decades. He noted that at their first meeting in 1930 there were 230 journalists from 33 countries, whereas at the 2001 meeting there were 1,080 journalists from 106 countries. In his talk to them in English, the Holy Father highlighted what it means to be a professional journalist who is Catholic. "Quite simply," he said, "it means being a person of integrity, an individual whose personal and professional life reflects the teachings of Jesus and the Gospel. It means striving for the highest ideals of professional excellence, being a man or woman of prayer who seeks always to give the very best they have to offer. It means having the courage to seek and report the truth, even when the truth is inconvenient or is not considered 'politically correct'." "It means," John Paul II continued, "being sensitive to the moral, religious and spiritual aspects of human life, aspects which are often misunderstood or deliberately ignored. It means reporting not only the misdeeds and tragedies that take place, but also the positive and uplifting actions performed on behalf of those in need; the poor, the sick, the handicapped, the weak, those who are otherwise forgotten by society. It means offering examples of hope and heroism to a world that is in desperate need of both." "These are some of the things that must mark your professional lives as Catholic journalists," said the Pope in closing. "And this is the spirit that the International Catholic Union of the Press must always strive to embody in its membership and activities." source: Vatican Information Service

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