.- Recognizing that the world is becoming increasingly influenced by new technologies, Pope Benedict XVI is dedicating his upcoming message for the World Day of Social Communications to ways that these channels of communication can help promote a culture of "respect, dialogue and friendship."
Every year the Pope pens a message to journalists and those who contribute to the field of social communications. The message is always published on the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron of journalists, which will fall on January 24 in 2009.
Also in keeping with tradition, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, announced the theme for the papal message and commented on it yesterday, the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. The archangel Gabriel is associated with communications because he delivered news of the Incarnation to the Virgin Mary.
Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli informed a press conference that the Pope’s message is titled: "New Technologies, New Relationships. Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship."
Pope Benedict, the archbishop said, "is presenting us with a true work plan, ... a compendium of commitments and responsibilities that ... those involved in the field of communications are personally called to shoulder, at a time so deeply marked by the development of new media technologies which, in effect, are creating a new environment, a new culture.
"It is clear that the Pope has a certain confidence in the possibilities the communications media can offer; the media can be of great help in favoring a climate of dialogue and trust."
Archbishop Celli also noted that new technologies lead to "new relationships" and that these new inventions do not "simply mean a step forwards in technical terms," but create "new conditions and possibilities for mankind to use and apply this resource for the common good, placing it at the foundation of a widespread cultural growth."
The council president also announced that in March 2009 bishops with responsibility for communication will attend a seminar organized in collaboration with experts in media and communication "to devise a more precise and up-to-date form of pastoral care for the social communications media."
The World Day of Social Communications will be celebrated in nearly every country on Sunday, May 31, 2009.