The Vatican

Pope Francis: "To communicate in truth one must purify one's heart".

Pope Francis delivered a message on the occasion of World Communications Day, celebrated on the same day that St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists, is remembered.

Paloma López Campos-January 24, 2023-Reading time: 4 minutes
The Pope with journalists

The Pope with journalists on the plane en route to Canada in July 2022 (CNS Photo / Paul Haring)

Pope Francis addressed all communicators on the feast of St. Francis de Sales, which coincides with World Communications Day. Under the motto Speak from the heart, "in truth and love". (Eph 4:15), the Pope addressed the communicators.

Based on the reflections made in previous years On the verbs "to go", "to see" and "to listen", necessary for good communication, Francis focused his message on "speaking from the heart".

Listening from the heart

The Pope said that the heart is "what moved us to go, to see and to listen; and it is the heart that moves us to open and welcoming communication". After listening, "we can enter into the dynamics of dialogue and exchange, which is precisely that of cordially communicate".

Only in this way, listening with a pure heart, "will we succeed in speaking "in truth and love" (cf. Ef 4,15). We should not be afraid to proclaim the truth, even if at times it is uncomfortable, but to do so without charity, without heart". When communication is carried out in this spirit, "the miracle of encounter becomes possible, which allows us to look at one another with compassion, welcoming with respect the frailties of each one, instead of judging by hearsay and sowing discord and divisions".

Why is it so important to have a clean heart? The Pope's answer is that "to be able to communicate "in truth and love" it is necessary to purify the heart. Only by listening and speaking with a pure heart can we see beyond appearances and overcome the confusing noises that, also in the field of information, do not help us to discern in the complexity of the world in which we live".

Communicate cordially

Speaking from the heart, "communicating cordially, means that those who read or listen to us understand that we share in the joys and fears, hopes and sufferings of the women and men of our time. Those who speak in this way love others well, because they care for them and protect their freedom without violating it.

In a society full of polarizations and oppositions, the Pope continued, "the commitment to communication "with an open heart and open arms" does not concern exclusively information professionals, but is the responsibility of everyone". Cordial communication brings us closer to others, "speaking kindly opens a breach even in the most hardened hearts".

Heart-to-heart communication

As an example of this communication, the Pope gave the following as an example. St. Francis de SalesHe described him as "a brilliant intellect, a prolific writer, a theologian of great depth. About him, the Holy Father said that "his gentle attitude, his humanity, his willingness to dialogue patiently with everyone, especially with those who contradicted him, made him an extraordinary witness of God's merciful love".

Through his life, "the holy bishop of Geneva reminds us that we are what we communicate. A lesson that goes against the current today, in a time when, as we experience especially in social networks, communication is often instrumentalized, so that the world sees us as we would like to be and not as we are".

Communication in the synodal process

Thinking about the synodal process that the Church is going through, the Pope said that "we urgently need a communication that enkindles hearts, that is a balm for wounds and illuminates the path of brothers and sisters. I dream of an ecclesial communication that knows how to let itself be guided by the Holy Spirit, gentle and, at the same time, prophetic; that knows how to find new forms and modalities for the marvelous proclamation that it is called to give in the third millennium. A communication that places at the center the relationship with God and with the neighbor, especially with the most needy, and that knows how to kindle the fire of faith instead of preserving the ashes of a self-referential identity. A communication whose foundations are humility in listening and the parresia in speaking; never separate truth from charity".

Peace and communication

Referring to the conflicts that are currently developing in the world, Francis also affirmed that "speaking with the heart is very necessary today to promote a culture of peace where there is war; to open paths that allow dialogue and reconciliation where hatred and enmity wreak havoc. In the dramatic context of the global conflict we are experiencing, it is urgent to affirm a non-hostile communication".

The Pope said, "one is horrified to hear how easily words are spoken that call for the destruction of peoples and territories. Words which, unfortunately, often turn into cruelly violent acts of war. This is why all warmongering rhetoric must be rejected, as well as any form of propaganda that manipulates the truth, distorting it for ideological reasons. Instead, we must promote, at all levels, communication that helps to create the conditions for resolving disputes between peoples".

The message ended with the Holy Father making three petitions to Christ, Word of God May the Lord Jesus, the pure Word that springs from the heart of the Father, help us to make our communication free, clean and cordial; may the Lord Jesus, the Word that became flesh, help us to listen to the beating of hearts, to rediscover ourselves as brothers and sisters, and to disarm the hostility that divides us; may the Lord Jesus, the Word of truth and love, help us to speak the truth in charity, so that we may feel we are each other's guardians".

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