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The Church in Australia yesterday marked the 57th World Communications Day, reflecting on the theme chosen by Pope Francis, “Speaking with the heart: The truth in love”, writes Fiona Basile. Source: Melbourne Catholic.

Pope Francis opened his message for the day by reminding people that in previous World Communications Day messages, he has reflected on the verbs ‘to go and see’ and ‘to listen’, observing that these are good conditions for communication. This year’s theme naturally flows from this. “It is the heart that spurred us to go, to see and to listen, and it is the heart that moves us towards an open and welcoming way of communicating,” he writes.

Once we have practised listening, which demands waiting and patience, as well as foregoing the assertion of our point of view in a prejudicial way, we can enter into the dynamic of dialogue and sharing, which is precisely that of communicating in a cordial way.

He goes on to say, “Communicating in a cordial manner means that those who read or listen to us are led to welcome our participation in the joys, fears, hopes and suffering of the women and men of our time. Those who speak in this way love the other because they care and protect their freedom without violating it.”

There is a deep emphasis on using the gift of communication as a “bridge” and not as a wall, where kindness is not only a question of “etiquette” but a “genuine antidote to cruelty”. We need to foster peace and understanding.

The Pope’s World Communications Day message is published by the Vatican on January 24, the feast day of St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists. 

With this in mind, at their most recent online gathering, members of the Australasian Catholic Press Association welcomed Cardinal John Dew, Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Wellington, to share his reflections on the Pope’s message among those working in media and communications.

Cardinal Dew encouraged all to listen and speak with open hearts, and to speak the truth in love, communicating with courage and “with heart”. This, he said, is “the only way that we encounter each other and help one another to encounter something more, someone more”, and “to be caressed by the mercy of God”.

Fiona Basile is a writer and photographer. She is also the Australian vice president of the Australasian Catholic Press Association.


Learning to speak the truth in love: World Communications Day 2023 (By Fiona Basile, Melbourne Catholic)