This morning Pope John Paul II called diocesan newspapers to pursue their mission as pulpits of the Gospel and thanked representatives of about 150 diocesan newspapers "for the service you render to building a civilization of love" which, "in the era of global communications is an ever-more difficult mission."
In a meeting organized by the Italian Federation for Diocesan Weeklies, the Holy Father, who thanked God for the Italy’s “rich tradition of Catholic weeklies," said that “the contribution of Catholic journalists is all the more precious today, on the pastoral level as well as the cultural and social levels.”
These weeklies, which “offer an information service on the life of the Church, together with supplements of documentation and a deeper look at ecclesial issues and their contents," permeate "families, parishes and cities with the Christian values that form great part of the spiritual patrimony of the Italian people.
“I am thinking in particular of the safeguarding of human life in its entirety,” the Pope continued. “I am also thinking of marriage and the family, whose nature a poorly understood culture of 'personal rights' tends to distort; And lastly, I am thinking of the values of truth, justice and solidarity."
In concluding comments the Pope exhorted the papers to "pursue with commitment the announcement of the Gospel of truth and hope from the singular 'pulpits' that diocesan weeklies are, remaining always open to the broader perspectives of the universal Church."
He also advised them "to enrich your ethical and cultural formation," taking recourse always to a rich spiritual life nourished by prayer and the sacraments.