05/08/2005, 00.00
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Pope: Responsibility in use of the media to knock down the walls of misunderstanding

Before singing the Regina Caeli, Pope Benedict XVI recalled World Communications Day and appealed for a sense of personal responsibility in the face of ambiguity of the media, capable of fomenting violence or of building chains of friendship.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The new style of the Pope's Sunday appointment goes on: today, as he did last Sunday, before tens of thousands of pilgrims, the Pope did not recite, but sang, the Regina Caeli, the Marian prayer of the Easter season.

In his reflection leading up to the prayer, the Pope gave a message for World Communications Day, marked annually on the feast of the Ascension.  This year's theme is: "The Communications Media: at the Service of Understanding between Peoples". The media, said Benedict XVI, is an "extraordinary resource for the promotion of solidarity" among men and cultures. But it can also "feed prejudice and contempt among individuals and peoples". The Pope emphasised the importance of appealing to a sense of personal responsibility because through objective communication, solidarity among peoples is enhanced by respect for "human dignity" and care for the "common good".

This was Benedict XVI's second Sunday appointment. After the Regina Caeli prayer, the Pope greeted various groups present in different languages.

Below is the text of the words spoken by Benedict XVI when he introduced the Marian prayer:

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Today, the feast of the Ascension of Our Lord to heaven is being celebrated in many countries, among them Italy. In this feast, the Christian community is invited to turn its gaze towards he who, 40 days after his resurrection, to the amazement of his apostles, "was lifted up while they were looking on and a cloud received him out of their sight" (Acts 1,9). We are therefore called to renew our faith in Jesus, the only true anchor of salvation for all men. Ascending to heaven, he reopened the way towards our ultimate homeland; that is paradise. Now, with the power of His Spirit, he sustains us in the daily pilgrimage on earth.

This Sunday, World Communications Day is being celebrated with the theme, "the Communications Media: at the Service of Understanding between Peoples". In this current age of images, the mass media effectively constitutes an extraordinary resource to promote solidarity and comprehension among the human family. We saw extraordinary proof of this recently, on the occasion of the death and solemn funeral rites of my much-loved predecessor, John Paul II. Everything depends, however, on the way in which they are used. These important tools of communication can foster reciprocal awareness and dialogue, or else the contrary, they can feed prejudice and contempt among individuals and peoples; they can contribute to spreading peace or to fomenting violence. This is why it is always necessary to appeal to a sense of personal responsibility; it is necessary that all do their part to assure objectivity, respect for human dignity and care for the common good in all forms of communication. In this way, one contributes to pulling down the walls of hostility which still separate mankind and chains of friendship and love, which are signs of the Kingdom of God in history, may be consolidated.

Let us return to the Christian mystery of the Ascension. After the Lord was taken up to heaven, the disciples gathered in prayer in the Cenacle with the mother of Jesus (cfr Acts 1,14); together they invoked the Holy Spirit, who would have filled them with strength to testify to the risen Christ (cfr Lk 24,49; Acts 1,8). In these days, all Christian communities, united in the Most Holy Virgin, relive this unique spiritual experience in preparation for the feast of Pentecost. We too turn now to Maria with the hymn of the Regina Caeli, calling for her protection on the Church and especially on all those who dedicate themselves to the work of evangelisation through means of social communications.

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