Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Every year, one of the Vatican's "World Day" observances comes and goes without making much of a stir. I suspect that is mostly a matter of timing, since the observance usually falls around the same time as graduations, Memorial Day and the beginning of summer vacation. This year, it may pass by even more quietly. That is because this year's theme for "World Communications Day" is precisely silence.

For years, the theme has been announced on the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists (even though the event is generally held a week before Pentecost) to accommodate print journalists, especially for monthly publications. Now media cycles are so short, we get the news in January and have to burrow through our files to find it again in May! I suppose it would be better if we began to keep the message a little more in mind all the way through...

Here's the counterintuitive message about the vital place of silence in the mystery of communication:

The extraordinarily varied nature of the contribution of modern communications to society highlights the need for a value which, on first consideration, might seem to stand in contra-distinction to it. Silence, in fact, is the central theme for the next World Communications Day Message: Silence and Word: path of evangelization.

In the thought of Pope Benedict XVI, silence is not presented simply as an antidote to the constant and unstoppable flow of information that characterizes society today but rather as a factor that is necessary for its integration. Silence, precisely because it favors habits of discernment and reflection, can in fact be seen primarily as a means of welcoming the word. We ought not to think in terms of a dualism, but of the complementary nature of two elements which when they are held in balance serve to enrich the value of communication and which make it a key factor that can serve the new evangelization.

It is clearly the desire of the Holy Father to associate the theme of the next World Communications Day with the celebration of the forthcoming Synod of Bishops which will have as its own theme: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.


Las Vegas Mama said...

In a world of noise, silence can be scary. But it is a wonderful way to open yourself up to the Word.

Sr Anne said...

And here is the Pope's official message for the day: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/communications/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20120124_46th-world-communications-day_en.html