Full Community activities have resumed. This means Friday bi-refs for
ministries and apostolates have resumed. In the meantime we ask that you
to follow the health guidelines laid down by the HK
Government and the Catholic
Diocese of HK.
Message of Pope John Paul II for the 37th World Communications Day (June
THEME: The Communications Media at the Service of Authentic
Peace in the Light of 'Pacem in Terris'
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. In the dark days of the Cold War, Blessed Pope John XXIII's Encyclical
Letter Pacem in Terris came as a beacon of hope to men and women of good
will. Declaring that authentic peace requires "diligent observance
of the divinely established order" (Pacem
in Terris, 1), the Holy Father pointed to truth, justice, charity
and freedom as the pillars of a peaceful society (ibid., 37).
The emergence of the power of modern social communications formed an important
part of the Encyclical's background. Pope John XXIII had the media especially
in mind when he called for "fairness and impartiality" in the
use of "instruments for the promotion and spread of mutual understanding
between nations" afforded by science and technology; he decried "ways
of disseminating information which violate the principles of truth and
justice, and injure the reputation of another nation" (ibid., 90).
2. Today, as we observe the fortieth anniversary of Pacem in Terris, the
division of peoples into opposing blocs is mostly a painful memory , but
peace, justice and social stability are still lacking in many parts of
the world. Terrorism, conflict in the Middle East and other regions, threats
and counter-threats, injustice, exploitation, and assaults upon the dignity
and sanctity of human life both before and after birth are dismaying realities
of our times.
Meanwhile, the power of the media to shape human relationships and influence
political and social life, both for good and for ill, has enormously increased.
Hence the timeliness of the theme chosen for the Thirty-seventh World
Day of Communications: "The Communications Media at the Service of
Authentic Peace in the Light of Pacem in Terris". The world and the
media still have much to learn from the message of Blessed Pope John XXIII.
3. Media and Truth. The fundamental moral requirement of all communication
is respect for and service of the truth. Freedom to seek and speak what
is true is essential to human communication, not only in relation to facts
and information but also, and especially, regarding the nature and destiny
of the human person, regarding society and the common good, regarding
our relationship with God. The mass media have an inescapable responsibility
in this sense, since they constitute the modern arena in which ideas are
shared and people can grow in mutual understanding and solidarity. This
is why Pope John XXIII defended the right "to freedom in investigating
the truth and - within the limits of the moral order and the common good
- to freedom of speech and publication" as necessary conditions for
social peace (Pacem
in Terris, 12).
In fact, the media often do render courageous service to the truth; but
sometimes they function as agents of propaganda and disinformation in
the service of narrow interests, national, ethnic, racial, and religious
prejudices, material greed and false ideologies of various kinds. It is
imperative that the pressures brought to bear on the media to err in such
ways be resisted first of all by the men and women of the media themselves,
but also by the Church and other concerned groups.
4. Media and Justice. Blessed Pope John XXIII spoke eloquently in Pacem
in Terris of the universal human good - "the good, that is, of the
whole human family" (No.132) - in which every individual and all
peoples have a right to share.
The global outreach of the media carries with it special responsibilities
in this regard. While it is true that the media often belong to particular
interest groups, private and public, the very nature of their impact on
life requires that they must not serve to set one group against another
- for example, in the name of class conflict, exaggerated nationalism,
racial supremacy, ethnic cleansing, and the like. Setting some against
others in the name of religion is a particularly serious failure against
truth and justice, as is discriminatory treatment of religious beliefs,
since these belong to the deepest realm of the human person's dignity
By accurately reporting events, correctly explaining issues and fairly
representing diverse points of view , the media have a strict duty to
foster justice and solidarity in human relationships at all levels of
society. This does not mean glossing over grievances and divisions but
getting at their roots so that they can be understood and healed.
5. Media and Freedom. Freedom is a precondition of true peace as well
as one of its most precious fruits. The media serve freedom by serving
truth: they obstruct freedom to the extent that they depart from what
is true by disseminating falsehoods or creating a climate of unsound emotional
reaction to events. Only when people have free access to true and sufficient
information can they pursue the common good and hold public authority
If the media are to serve freedom, they themselves must be free and correctly
use that freedom. Their privileged status obliges the media to rise above
purely commercial concerns and serve society's true needs and interests.
Although some public regulation of the media in the interests of the common
good is appropriate, government control is not. Reporters and commentators
in particular have a grave duty to follow the demands of their moral conscience
and to resist pressures to "adapt" the truth to satisfy the
demands of wealth or political power.
As a practical matter, ways must be found not only to give the weaker
sectors of society access to the information which they need for their
individual and social development, but also to ensure that they are not
excluded from having an effective and responsible role in deciding media
content and determining the structures and policies of social communications.
6. Media and Love. "The anger of man does not work the righteousness
of God" (James 1 :20). At the height of the Cold War, Blessed Pope
John XXIII expressed this simple but profound thought on what the path
to peace entailed: "The preservation of peace will have to be dependent
on a radically different principle from the one which is operative at
the present time. True peace among nations must depend not on the possession
of an equal supply of weapons, but solely upon mutual trust" (Pacem
in Terris, 113).
The communications media are key actors in today's world, and they have
an immense role to play in building that trust. Their power is such that
in a few short days they can create the positive or negative public reaction
to events which suits their purposes. Reasonable people will realize that
such enormous power calls for the highest standards of commitment to truth
and goodness. In this sense the men and women of the media are especially
bound to contribute to peace in all parts of the world by breaking down
the barriers of mistrust, fostering consideration of the point of view
of others, and striving always to bring peoples and nations together in
mutual understanding and respect - and beyond understanding and respect,
to reconciliation and mercy!
"Where hatred and the thirst for revenge dominate, where war brings
suffering and death to the innocent, there the grace of mercy is needed
in order to settle human minds and hearts and to bring about peace"
at the Shrine of Divine Mercy at Krakow-Lagiewniki, 17 August 2002,
Challenging as all this is, it is by no means asking too much of the men
and women of the media. For by vocation as well as by profession they
are called to be agents of truth, justice, freedom, and love, contributing
by their important work to a social order "founded on truth, built
up on justice, nurtured and animated by charity, and brought into effect
under the auspices of freedom" (Pacem
in Terris, 167). My prayer therefore on this year's World Communications
Day is that the men and women of the media will ever more wholly live
up to the challenge of their calling: service of the universal common
good. Their personal fulfilment and the peace and happiness of the world
depend greatly on this. May God bless them with light and courage.
From the Vatican, 24 January 2003, the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales
JOANNES PAULUS II
The celebration of Christ's death and resurrection is unique to Christians around the world. It also brings out the differences in the way each culture celebrates it. In the more affluent countries, the emphasis is given to Christ's resurrection while in our country and perhaps other poor countries, the emphasis is given to Christ's passion and death. People identify more to either sorrow or joy. But really we Christians should identify more with joy. The joy that death is not the end of our life, that it is not the end of our consciousness. As St. Paul in 1Cor.15:54 quoting Hosea "O death where is thy victory; O death where is thy sting"
Father Gabriel Amorth recalls his visits to Padre Pio over a period of 26 years. Here, Padre Pio consistently emphasizes the importance of prayer-- especially for priests. ***Source: Echo of Mary newsletter # 143, January-February 1999 issue.
Padre Pio once defined himself: "a poor monk who prays," and the expression has become famous. I would watch him with hiws beads in his hands. He used to call them his weapon, and he wrote to his spiritual director that he recited at least five complete rosaries each day. That means at least five hours per day dedicated to the Rosary. He slept very little and was able to do more than one thing at a time.