Pope Francis speaks of opportunities for encounter in Social Communications Day message

World Day of Social Communications 2019

Pope Francis has issued his annual message for World Day of Social Communications 2019, to be celebrated worldwide on Sunday June 2 and on May 26 in Australia.

The Pope’s message—published yesterday to mark the feast of the patron saint of writers and journalists, St Francis de Sales—highlighted the opportunities offered by the web for encounter, but warned against isolation and “spirals of hatred” that can develop just as easily.

‘The Net is an opportunity to promote encounter with others, but it can also increase our self-isolation, like a web that can entrap us,’ the Pope said, adding that the responsibility is on us as users to use the web for good.

‘While governments seek legal ways to regulate the web and to protect the original vision of a free, open and secure network, we all have the possibility and the responsibility to promote its positive use.’

Catholic Mission’s National Director, Father Brian Lucas, agreed we must be aware of the balance. ‘Pope Francis’ message is that the internet should be a transactional environment,’ he told cm.org.au.

‘We can gain an enormous amount from the web, but we must treat it, ourselves and one another with respect. The World Day of Social Communications is an important check for us as Catholics on whether we are using the internet and social media in the positive way it was intended and for which there is great potential.’

Pope Francis said that, even in a world where the web’s capability has developed to advanced levels, its basic purpose should not be forgotten. ‘If the Net becomes an opportunity to share stories and experiences of beauty or suffering that are physically distant from us, in order to pray together and together seek out the good to rediscover what unites us, then it is a resource.

‘This is the network we want, a network created not to entrap, but to liberate, to protect a communion of people who are free.’

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