With the Synod of Bishops on the family about to open on Sunday, the Vatican has revealed that the message for next year’s World Communications Day is also focused on the theme of the family as ‘a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love’.
‘Communicating the Family’ is the title of the message which is traditionally published in full on January 24th, feast day of St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers and journalists. While the media often tends to portray the problems facing families today, the message urges all those in the communications business to highlight the positive side of the family too, as a unique place where we first learn to love, accept and be open to the needs of others.
To find out more, Philippa Hitchen spoke to Archbishop Claudio Celli, head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications which helps the Pope prepare the World Communications Day message…
Archbishop Celli says the theme is connected to last year’s message, that of communications in promoting a culture of encounter and the family, he says, is a particularly privileged place of encounter. We all know that life in a family is challenging, he says, but it also offers opportunities as we learn how to encounter and give ourselves to others.
Q: You point out that the media often paint a negative picture of the problems facing families today – yet the church often paints an idealised one doesn’t reflect the reality of most peoples’ lives?
A: “Today people are talking about the Gospel of the Family and the Gospel is an ideal….but I like to think how our Lord is walking with us also in the life of the family….it’s where you learn and perceive you are loved, not through declarations but in the experience of daily life….”
Q: You’re talking about the challenge of communication within families, between generations, yet digital technology has in some ways created even greater differences and isolation between parents and children?
A: “The great majority of our kids are in internet alone and I think this is a major task of parents, not just to buy a very nice computer, but to educate kids how to be present in social networks….when we talk about pastoral for the family, we need to prepare parents for this responsibility for their children..”