Wednesday, January 25, 2012



VATICAN  CITY, 24 JAN 2012 (VIS) - A press conference was held this morning in the  Holy See Press Office to present Benedict XVI's Message for the forty-sixth  World Day of Social Communications, entitled: "Silence and Word: Path of  Evangelisation". Participating in today's conference were Archbishop  Claudio Maria Celli, Msgr. Paul Tighe, Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti and  Angelo Scelzo, respectively president, secretary, adjunct secretary and under  secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

   Archbishop Celli recalled how, "each year in his Message for the World  Day of Social Communications, the Pope has sought to analyse the culture of  communication, offering guidance to modern man and directing the pastoral  activity of the Church. Over recent years the Pope has been very attentive to  the process and dynamics of communication, especially in the context of the  cultural transformations that have arisen as a result of technological progress".

   This year, however, "the Holy Father turns his attention to a 'classic'  aspect of communication: 'silence'; or rather, the pairing of 'silence and  word'. This aspect ... is becoming increasingly important in the context of  digital culture", noted the president of the pontifical council, going  on to explain how Benedict XVI focuses upon the importance of silence as part  of authentic communication. Silence can be a vehicle of expression, it gives  others the chance to speak and us the opportunity to listen, think and  reflect, the archbishop said. "In essence, it is in silence that I am  able to give communication its correct significance, and to avoid being  overwhelmed by the sheer volume of communication itself.

   "Silence has particular importance in the context of that incessant flow  of questions which, in a certain sense, is the driving force of modern  communication culture", he added. The Pope suggests "that at the  heart of this flow of questions lies a fundamental question, which is the  search for Truth. Here again the importance of silence emerges, as a place  where human beings must face themselves and God". In silence mankind  discovers "the possibility to speak with God and about God". For  this reason Benedict XVI reminds people engaged in the task of evangelisation  that "both silence and word are essential elements, integral to the  Church's work of communication for the sake of a renewed proclamation of  Christ in today's world".
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VATICAN  CITY, 24 JAN 2012 (VIS) - Today's Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of  journalists, marks the World Day of Social Communications, and the Holy  Father's Message for the Day, entitled: "Silence and Word: Path of  Evangelisation" was made public this morning. Ample excerpts from the  English-language version of the text are given below.

   On this "World Communications Day 2012, I would like to share with you  some reflections concerning an aspect of the human process of communication  which, despite its importance, is often overlooked and which, at the present  time, it would seem especially necessary to recall. It concerns the  relationship between silence and word: two aspects of communication which  need to be kept in balance, to alternate and to be integrated with one  another if authentic dialogue and deep closeness between people are to be  achieved".

   "Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words  rich in content cannot exist. In silence, we are better able to listen to and  understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth. ... By remaining  silent we allow the other person to speak, to express him or herself; and we  avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being  adequately tested. In this way, space is created for mutual listening, and  deeper human relationships become possible. ... When messages and information  are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is  important from what is insignificant or secondary. Deeper reflection helps us  ... to make evaluations, to analyse messages; this makes it possible to share  thoughtful and relevant opinions, giving rise to an authentic body of shared  knowledge. For this to happen, it is necessary to develop an appropriate environment,  a kind of 'eco-system' that maintains a just equilibrium between silence,  words, images and sounds.

   "The process of communication nowadays is largely fuelled by questions  in search of answers. Search engines and social networks have become the  starting point of communication for many people who are seeking advice,  ideas, information and answers. ... Indeed, people today are frequently  bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of  which they were unaware. If we are to recognise and focus upon the truly  important questions, then silence is a precious commodity that enables us to  exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data  that we receive".

   "Ultimately, this constant flow of questions demonstrates the  restlessness of human beings, ceaselessly searching for truths, of greater or  lesser import, that can offer meaning and hope to their lives. Men and women  cannot rest content with a superficial and unquestioning exchange of  sceptical opinions and experiences of life - all of us are in search of  truth".

   "Attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications  and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection  and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions  for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God. In concise phrases,  often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be  communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect  to cultivate their own inner lives. It is hardly surprising that different  religious traditions consider solitude and silence as privileged states which  help people to rediscover themselves and that Truth which gives meaning to  all things. The God of biblical revelation speaks also without words: 'As the  Cross of Christ demonstrates, God also speaks by His silence".

   "If God speaks to us even in silence, we in turn discover in silence the  possibility of speaking with God and about God. ... In speaking of God's  grandeur, our language will always prove inadequate and must make space for  silent contemplation. Out of such contemplation springs forth, with all its  inner power, the urgent sense of mission, the compelling obligation 'to  communicate that which we have seen and heard' so that all may be in  communion with God".

   "In silent contemplation, then, the eternal Word, through Whom the world  was created, becomes ever more powerfully present and we become aware of the  plan of salvation that God is accomplishing throughout our history by word  and deed. ... This plan of salvation culminates in the person of Jesus of  Nazareth, the mediator and the fullness of all revelation. He has made known  to us the true face of God the Father and by His Cross and Resurrection has  brought us from the slavery of sin and death to the freedom of the children  of God. The fundamental question of the meaning of human existence finds in  the mystery of Christ an answer capable of bringing peace to the restless  human heart. The Church's mission springs from this mystery; and it is this  mystery which impels Christians to become heralds of hope and salvation,  witnesses of that love which promotes human dignity and builds justice and  peace.

   "Word and silence: learning to communicate is learning to listen and  contemplate as well as speak. This is especially important for those engaged  in the task of evangelisation: both silence and word are essential elements,  integral to the Church's work of communication for the sake of a renewed  proclamation of Christ in today's world".
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VATICAN  CITY, 24 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Herve Gaschignard,  auxiliary of Toulouse, France, as bishop of Aire et Dax (area 9,364,  population 362,827, Catholics 261,000, priests 153, permanent deacons 14,  religious 211), France. He succeeds Bishop Philippe Breton, whose resignation  from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon  having reached the age limit.

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