By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis speaks with Members and employees of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, and urges media professionals to let their heart and Christian values shine through in their work.
As the Dicastery for Communication held its plenary assembly, Pope Francis met with Members and employees of Dicastery’s various branches, which includes Vatican News.
The Pope gave his prepared remarks to Dr. Paolo Ruffini, the Dicastery’s Prefect, and then spoke off-the-cuff, so that he could offer something “more spontaneous and uncensored, which is more fun!”
He offered his reflections on the importance of communication, calling it a “round trip”.
“There is no one-way communication: it goes and comes back; it goes and comes back. And in this we too grow.”
Pope Francis said that only parrots communicate without listening to the response of their interlocutors.
Communication, he added, is “a human connection” which should resemble a telephone conversation in which a person speaks but also listens.
The Pope noted that this dialogue “always brings risks” because it means overcoming the temptation toward inertia where nothing changes even if it is poorly received.
He summed up his meaning with the idea of “communicative restlessness”, which drives journalists and media professionals to “go towards” their audience.
“The communicator must always take risks, must always be on the road, always engaging with life.”
The Pope then reflected on what he called “the communication of values”.
Each person, he said, must communicate “with our values”, which does not mean “praying a novena to a saint every day.”
He said communicators should embrace their Christian and human values, so that we can teach others “the way to communicate with God.”
Pope Francis added that he is wary of “aseptic communicators” who focus merely on their journalistic “technique”.
“Technique helps you if there is a heart behind it, if there is a mind, if there is a man, a woman who gives of his or her own self.”
Humanism at work
In conclusion, the Pope praised the Dicastery for Communication for the “humanism” present within it and its work, a trait he said Dr. Ruffini has helped engender and which should be preserved.
“Strive forward,” he told the Vatican’s media professionals. “Take risks and don’t be afraid! Take risks, to meet the other in communication.”