Communications can be used for good or ill, says Holy Father

Yesterday at noon in Rome, the Holy Father appeared at his study window to recite the traditional Regina Coeli prayer, and note two significant dates for the Church; the solemnity of the Ascension, celebrated Sunday in Italy and in many other countries; and the 39th World Day of Social Communications.

Speaking to throngs of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict said that Jesus, "ascending into heaven, re-opened the path to our definitive homeland which is paradise.”

“Now,” he said, “with the power of His Spirit, He sustains us in our daily pilgrimage on earth."

The Pope said that, "after the Lord ascended into heaven, the disciples gathered in prayer in the Cenacle with the Mother of Jesus, invoking together the Holy Spirit. ... Every Christian community is reliving in these days this singular spiritual experience in preparation for the solemnity of Pentecost."

Turning his thoughts to this year’s celebration of the World Day of Social Communications, Pope Benedict noted the theme chosen last year by then Pope John Paul II:  "The Communications Media: At the Service of Understanding Between Peoples."

He said that, "in the current era of images, the mass media are effectively an extraordinary resource in promoting solidarity and understanding in the human family. We recently had extraordinary proof of this on the occasion of the death and solemn funeral of my beloved predecessor John Paul II.”

The Pope noted that, "everything depends, however, on the way they are used," he stressed that "these important instruments of communications can promote reciprocal knowledge and dialogue or, on the contrary, feed prejudice and disdain among individuals and peoples: they can contribute to spreading peace or to fomenting violence.”

“This is why”, he said, “personal responsibility is always important: it is necessary for everyone to do their part to assure, in every form of communications, objectivity, respect for human dignity and attention to the common good.”

“In such a way this contributes to knocking down the walls of hostility that still divide mankind and to consolidating those bonds of friendship and love that are signs of the Kingdom of God in history," he added.

At the conclusion of the Regina Coeli prayer, the Pope greeted those gathered in Italian, English and Spanish.

He also greeted participants in the Spring Marathon - School Fest “which took place this morning in Rome, Trent and other Italian cities. I hope the formation of the younger generations is always at the center of attention of the ecclesial community and of public institutions."

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