Pope Francis’ message is summarized by Fr. Joselito Jopson, Executive Secretary, CBCP, ECSC (Episcopal Commission on Social Communications)
His Holiness Pope Francis invites all faithful to reflect on the relationship between communication and mercy in 50th World Communications Day Message of the Holy Father to be delivered in all masses this Ascension Sunday, May 8. 2016.
Dubbed with the theme “Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter”, the Holy Father stressed, “If our hearts and actions are inspired by charity, “divine love”, then our communication will be touched by God’s own power.”
“Communication has the power to build bridges, to enable encounter and inclusion, and thus, to enrich society, avoiding misunderstanding, healing wounded memories, and building peace and harmony. Words can be possible in the digital world and the material world.”
Pope Francis recommended examining three sectors of society by which communication and mercy can be lived: the political sector, the Church, and the family.
“I ask those with institutional and political responsibility, and those charged with forming public opinion, to remain especially attentive to the way they speak of those who think or act differently or those who may have made mistakes,” appealed the Holy Father while quoting Matthew 5, 7-9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”
To the pastors of the Church, he reminded them to overcome a mindest that neatly separates sinners from the righteous.
“We can and we must judge situations of sin – such as violence, corruption and exploitation – but we may not judge individuals, since only God can see into the depths of their hearts. It is our task to admonish those who err and to denounce the evil and injustice of certain ways of acting, for the sake of setting victims free and raising up those who have fallen,” he explained.
As regards the family, the Holy Father underscored the need to dispel the notion of mercy as hopelessly idealistic or excessively indulgent. “I would like to encourage everyone to see society not as a forum where strangers compete and try to come out on top, but above all as a home or a family, where the door is always open and where everyone feels welcome,” said the Holy Father.
He also recommended the use of social networking to be used wisely to build a society which is healthy and open to sharing. “I pray that this Jubilee Year, lived in mercy, “may open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better; and that it may eliminate every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect, and drive out every form of violence and discrimination” (Misericordiae Vultus, 23),” quoted the Holy Father.
In closing, he called on all to develop a sense of “closeness” that cares, comforts, heals, accompanies, and celebrates. “In a broken, fragmented and polarized world, to communicate with mercy means to help create a healthy, free and fraternal closeness between the children of God and all our brothers and sisters in the one human family,” Pope Francis concluded.