Benedict XVI has sent a message to participants in the national congress of the Italian Catholic Press Union (UCSI). The congress, held last week, commemorated the institution's fiftieth anniversary. In the message, the Pontiff writes about the importance of being faithful journalists, but also of living as a witness to Christ.
Reflecting on the last 50 years of the UCSI, the Holy Father notes that many things have changed. These changes have been "more visible in areas ranging from science to technology, from the economy to geopolitics,” he noted.
When examined at a deeper level, Pope Benedict finds “less perceptible” but “deeper and more worrying” developments in the modern culture. These changes include a notable decline in respect for the dignity of the individual, and in “a sense of such values as justice, freedom and solidarity, which are so essential for the survival of a society."
Today, the work of Catholic journalists is “even more arduous.” In addition to responsibility and service, journalists “must add an ever great professionalism, and a capacity for dialogue with the 'lay' world in the search for shared values."
Pope Benedict then speaks to the journalists on not only the importance of their faithful writing, but also the necessity of living their lives as witnesses to the Gospel. “You will be listened to more readily when the testimony of your own lives is coherent," the Holy Father assures them. “No small number of your 'lay' colleagues expect from you the silent witness - not only in appearance but in substance - of a life inspired by the values of faith."
Catholic journalists are committed to “an ever more demanding task,” the Holy Father continues, “one in which spaces for freedom are often under threat, and economic and political interests often take precedence over the spirit of service and the criterion of the common good.”
"I encourage you," he concludes, "not to make compromises in such important values but to have the courage of coherence, even at the cost of personal sacrifice. Serenity of conscience is a priceless quality."