World Communications Day - Communicating the Family

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
15 May 2015

Archbishop Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, with Pope Francis

On the Sunday before Pentecost every year, which falls on 17 May this year, parishes across Australia and around the world will celebrate World Communications Day, an annual celebration promoted by the Vatican.

The theme for this year's celebration, which was explored in Pope Francis' 2015 Communications Day message, is "Communicating the Family: A privileged place of encounter with the gift of love." This theme follows in continuity with the previous year's message, and at the same time fits into the context of the central theme of the upcoming Synod on the Family in Rome.

Pope Francis explains in his message that through the use of modern communication platforms, the Church must learn how to show that the family is a great gift, something good and beautiful. The Church is called to show more vividly that the gift of love, which the bride and groom offer each other, draws all people to God. This is an exciting task, the Pope explains, because it moves people to look at the true reality of the human person, and it opens the doors to the future, that is, to life.

The Holy Father also warned that some of the latest communication platforms can also cause a disruption to family life and can become a way to avoid listening to others, to evade physical contact, and to fill up every moment of silence and rest.

"The great challenge facing us today is to learn once again how to talk to one another, not simply how to generate and consume information. The latter is a tendency which our important and influential modern communications media can encourage. Information is important, but it is not enough," Pope Francis explained.

Archbishop Celli addressed delegates at the Australian Catholic Communications Congress on 5 May 2015

The important role that families play in fostering this message about the impact of modern communication was also explored by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, during his keynote speech at the Australian Catholic Communications Congress in Sydney on 5 May 2015.

Addressing a room of over 200 Congress delegates, Archbishop Celli said that as Catholics, "we need to add our efforts to those of other people of good will to ensure that humanity's enhanced capacity for expression and communication realises its enormous potential to strengthen the unity of the human family, to foster an authentic culture of encounter, rather than perpetuate division and rancour."

This challenge, he explained, requires us to embrace the good that comes with modern technology in the area of communications, and to teach ourselves how to use these communication platforms to unite people, both within the family home and across the globe.

"I believe we should begin by recognising and celebrating the potential of digital technology and the social media to facilitate human communication, to allow for the sharing of words and images almost simultaneously across enormous distances and with people who might previously have been isolated," the Archbishop explained.

He continued that this understanding and appreciation of the potential of modern technology will in turns allow people to use these platforms to promote greater understanding and harmony among people, "creating a sense of the unity of the human family which can in turn inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all."

Archbishop Celli's keynote address was filmed by and is available to watch below: 

The full text of Archbishop Celli's address "The Church in a Digital World: Communicating the Good News, Sharing the Gift of Faith" can be downloaded here.