Pope Francis thanked the Vatican press corps on Monday for reporting on scandals in the Church with “delicacy” in a media environment that he said often “distorts religious news.”
Journalists accredited to the Holy See Press Office met the pope in a private audience at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on Jan. 22.
“Being a journalist is a vocation, somewhat like that of a doctor, who chooses to love humanity by curing illnesses. In a certain sense, the journalist does likewise, choosing to touch personally the wounds of society and the world,” Pope Francis said.
The pope encouraged journalists covering the Vatican to ground their work “on the solid rock of responsibility for the truth, not the fragile sands of gossip and ideological interpretations.”
“I would like to add the delicacy that you so often have in speaking of scandals in the Church; there are some and many times I have seen in you a great delicacy, a respect, an almost, I say, ‘abashed’ silence: Thank you for this attitude,” the pope said.
Speaking under Renaissance frescoes depicting the life and martyrdom of the first-century pope St. Clement I, Pope Francis said that journalists should strive “to grasp what is essential in the light of the nature of the Church.”
“Our meeting is an opportunity to reflect on the tiring job of the ‘Vaticanista,’ the Vatican expert, in recounting the journey of the Church, in building bridges of knowledge and communication instead of rifts of division and distrust,” he said.
The 87-year-old pope told the journalists not to hide “reality and its miseries” or “sugarcoat the tensions” in the Church but also “not to make unnecessary hype.”
The papal audience took place just days ahead of the Jan. 24 feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists.
“I would like to express gratitude not only for what you write and broadcast but also for your constancy and patience in following day after day the news that arrives from the Holy See and the Church, reporting on an institution that transcends the ‘here and now’ and our own lives,” Pope Francis said.
“Thank you also for your sacrifices in following the pope around the world and in working often even on Sundays and feast days. I apologize for the times when the news concerning me in various ways has taken you away from your families,” he added.
🎥HIGHLIGHTS | Pope Francis met with journalists accredited to the Holy See Press Office in a private audience at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. He thanked them for reporting on scandals in the Church with “delicacy” in a media environment. pic.twitter.com/xvzczIzNVK
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.
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