In a pastoral letter which will be read at all 500 Catholic parishes in Scotland this weekend (16/17 May, 2015) to mark the 49th World Communications Day, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia calls on all Catholics to embrace the role of the family as the true building block of a good society, which can be used as a force for dialogue and reconciliation and acknowledges the role of modern media in enabling families to share their stories, faith and forgiveness with others.
Archbishop Tartaglia reflects on Pope Francis call to Catholics around the world to see families as a resource rather than as a problem for society and invites families to be examples of Christ s love, kindness and fellowship.
The theme of this year s World Communications Day message is Communicating the Family “ a Privileged Place of Encounter with the Gift of Love.
Archbishops Tartaglia says, It is at the heart of the family that we learn communication has a religious dimension in the form of prayer.
The children who learn to listen, respect and share at home will become what Pope Francis calls a ˜force for dialogue and reconciliation in society .
In his message, Pope Francis says that it is in the family that we realise that others who have preceded us, have made it possible for us to exist and generate new life and do something good and beautiful.
Adding, This virtual circle is at the heart of the family s ability to communicate among its members and with others ¦the model for all communication.
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Notes to Editors:
- The full text of the letter appears below
- Archbishop Tartaglia is the President of the Bishops Conference of Scotland
49th WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY
TO BE READ/PUBLISHED/DISTRIBUTED AT ALL MASSES ON 7TH SUNDAY OF EASTER 16/17 JUNE 2015
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ
Communicating the Family: A Privileged Place of Encounter with the Gift of Love
In his message for World Communications Day this year, Pope Francis has chosen communications within the family as his theme. He reminds us that it is in the context of the family that we first learn how to communicate.
In a beautiful and thoughtful text, the Pope points out that, The womb which hosts us is the first ˜school of communication, a place of listening and physical contact where we begin to familiarize ourselves with the outside world within a protected environment, with the reassuring sound of our mother s heartbeat.
He describes how this encounter, between two persons, so intimately related while still distinct from each other is so full of promise, and is our first experience of communication .
From this point onwards, we become members of a family and our ability to communicate grows. First with parents, siblings, and grandparents, and then with our extended family, we interact and communicate, as we develop our native language.
It is at the heart of the family that we learn communication has a religious dimension in the form of prayer: from the simple prayers of our childhood to the liturgy of the Mass and the intercessions we use at school and at home.
It is within our families, the Pope reminds us that we daily experience our own limits and those of others, the problems great and small entailed in living peacefully with others. He warns us too that A perfect family does not exist. We should not be fearful of imperfections, weakness or even conflict, but rather learn how to deal with them constructively.
This is a vision of the family as the true building block of society, The children who learn to listen, respect and share at home will become what Pope Francis calls a force for dialogue and reconciliation in society
In a society, where many use foul language, speak badly of others, or spread hatred through gossip, the family can be a singular example of communication based on love and respect.
The modern media have an important role to play, although they can both help and hinder communication within and between families. They can help when they enable us to share our stories, to stay in contact with distant friends, to thank others or to seek their forgiveness. They can hinder when they bombard us with images and messages which do not lead to authentic encounter and which are not based on respect.
As the primary educators of their children, parents must try to ensure that they encourage the next generation to use technology wisely and urge them to become communicators, not simply consumers.
As Pope Francis concludes, at their best, families actively communicate by their witness to the beauty and the richness of the relationship between man and woman, and between parents and children.
I hope you will pray for our Catholic communicators whose task it is to navigate the world of the media and present the Church s message in all its freshness and beauty.
I urge you to be generous in supporting the annual collection, which allows them to respond to the demands made on them by the media, and take the message of Jesus Christ into that complex, powerful and influential world.
Finally, I pray that we will all use the gift of communication as a force for dialogue and reconciliation in society, which will allow us to build a better future for the world in which we live.
President, Bishops Conference of Scotland