My dear brothers and sisters,
Communication is at the heart of all that we do. We share information, emotion, ideas and experiences every day.
Our faith is based on the communication of God’s message to humanity, namely that God is love. It is not a coincidence that St John refers to Jesus as the “Word” made flesh. (John: 1,14).
In his message for World Communication Day this year, the Holy Father asks us to focus on our everyday communication. He says: “I would like to encourage everyone to engage in constructive forms of communication that reject prejudice towards others and foster a culture of encounter, helping all of us to view the world around us with realism and trust.”
It would be easy to see that message as directed primarily at “others”. But the Holy Father does not address it only to politicians or journalists or webmasters or broadcasters … he directs it to every member of the Church….to you and to me.
An examination of conscience is called for …
· Do I engage with other people constructively?
· Do I reject prejudice? Really reject it? Not tolerating it even a little?
· Do I try to promote encounter and dialogue? How?
· Do I help others to see the world with realism and trust?
Such questions can be used in our own private examination of conscience. But they should also be considered in a wider context. In the family, the workplace, the friendship group, online …
Here in Scotland, we live in tumultuous times. All around us old certainties seem to be crumbling. This is true both socially and politically. As Catholics we cannot be spectators at the dramas facing wider society. We are called – Jesus does not grant exceptions to this – we are called individually and as a Church to be active in shaping our culture for the better.
One of the most important ways the Church tries to do this is through its engagement with the media – both the traditional means of newspapers, radio and TV, and through the web-based media. In recent years, the Church has used social media to communicate ever more effectively both to those within the Church and to those beyond its formal membership. It would be good if every person listening to this message made the resolution to sign up to receive the Church’s communications via social media. Never in history has it been easier for Catholics to keep up with the activities, homilies and addresses of the Holy Father and of the bishops; to find out what’s happening locally; and to share information about new initiatives or inspiring words and thoughts.
Today is the one and only time in the year when I ask you to help finance this essential work. The Church needs to be present in the life of our society and She communicates largely through the various forms of media. Please help us to keep our presence strong and effective by supporting today’s second collection for Communications Sunday and for the work of our Scottish Catholic Media Office, which does such a professional job of representing the Church in a challenging media context and with moderate resources.
In all of this, let us act with hope and trust.
As Pope Francis reminds us: “Confidence in the seed of God’s Kingdom and in the mystery of Easter should shape the way we communicate. This confidence enables us to carry out our work – in all the different ways that communication takes place nowadays – with the conviction that it is possible to recognize and highlight the good news present in every story and in the face of each person.”
“To recognise and highlight the good news present in every story and in the face of each person .… “ That is how the Catholic Christian should communicate.
Let us put that resolution into practice.
With every blessing,
Archbishop of Glasgow
President, Bishops’ Conference of Scotland