WelCom May 2018:
“The truth will set you free” – World Communications Day
‘Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”’. Pilate could not have known that his words to Jesus would resound so clearly in 2018.
World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican Council – Inter Mirifica, 1963 – is marked in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost. In 2018, it falls on May 13.
In Pope Francis’ 2018 World Communications Day message he reminds us we cannot stop seeking the truth. He also warns that even when we state something factual, this can be untruthful if used to hurt another or discredit them in the eyes of others. Truth is not impersonal, individualistic, or theoretical. Truth is personal, relational, and ‘involves our whole life’. Truth encourages communion. A timely message for today.
We all know a search for authentic truth in the noise of today is hard. Information flow is constant, filtered by algorithms designed to disrupt us towards the latest product or piece of ‘news’ to change or reinforce our worldview.
So what do we do?
Recognising the alternative is harder, do we become paralysed like Pilate? Trying to engage with Jesus in spite of the noisy crowd shouting their own version of the truth, asking ‘What is truth?’, then shrugging our shoulders, giving in, washing our hands, and moving on to read that funny post from that guy you went to school with.
Or do we try to become something better?
Francis invites journalists, and all of us, to ‘alternatives to the escalation of shouting matches and verbal violence’. He invites us all to the task of ‘promoting a journalism of peace’.
WelCom stands as one alternative to shouting matches and verbal violence and, of course, there are others. Today’s task is to present the messages of peace found among the people of the communities WelCom represents to the world of fake news, allowing this message to bear fruit.
This is a task, a task of the ages – for all of us.
Dave Mullin is project manager for the Diocese of Palmerston North and chair of the WelCom Advisory Board.
Pope Francis’ message for World Communications Day 2018 was published on 24 January, the feast of St Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers, editors and journalists. The first World Communications Day was observed on 7 May 1967, by Blessed Pope Paul VI, to draw attention to the media and the enormous power they have for cultural transformation. This year’s observance will be the 52nd edition. Read Pope Francis’ message at https://tinyurl.com/comms2018