Thousands of pilgrims flocked to St. Peter's square to hear the Pope's first public address since his trip to Brazil last week. Benedict speech was filled with relevant topics—his trip to Brazil, the annual World Day of Social Communications, and the celebration of the Ascension.
The Holy Father wasted no time in mentioning his desire to "renew my thanksgiving to the Lord for the apostolic trip to Brazil." He also added his thanks to "those who accompanied me with their prayer."
The Pope then reminded everybody that "the reason for my pastoral visit . . . was the inauguration of the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops." However, "before this great ecclesiastical event, I had the chance to meet with the Brazilian Catholic community."
Recalling this great event brought to the Holy Father’s mind how many people came to "the canonization of the first native of Brazil, Br. Antonio di Sant'Anna Galvao." He then invited all present "to continue to pray for the Conference . . . and for God's people who live in Latin America."
Benedict then changed the topic of his address to "the annual World Day of Social Communications," whose theme this year is, "Children and Means of Communication: an Educational Challenge." Because the mass media is becoming so pervasive, "an adequate formation in the correct use of the media is essential." In fact, "parents, teachers and the Church community are all called to work together to educate children to be selective and to develop a critical attitude (of the media’s messages)."
The Pope also noted the positive impact that the media can have when it is used correctly. "The media must bring their contribution to this educational task, promoting the dignity of the human person, marriage and the family." Benedict clearly stated that programs that teach "violence and anti-social behavior or vulgarize human sexuality are unacceptable, even more so when presented to minors." Once again, Benedict "renewed the call to those responsible for the media industry . . . to safeguard the common good, respect the truth, and protect the dignity of the person and the family."
His Holiness closed the address by drawing attention to the fact that the Ascension is celebrated in some countries today, and that "the Risen Jesus returns to the Father, thereby opening to us the way to eternal life and making the gift of the Holy Spirit possible." Therefore, "like the Apostles did after the Ascension, we also should come together in prayer to invoke the Spirit, in spiritual union with the Virgin Mary."