By John Waters
The conference is entitled “Media and Truth.” One of the highlights will be an outdoor Mass at the Lourdes Grotto, celebrated by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Popular perceptions of truth
Material published ahead of the conference begins with the statement “Over time, truth has imposed itself as the horizon of any reasoned debate”. It then goes on to examine what effect a lack of truth has upon society. The statement refers to popular perceptions of truth, including the phrase “Today in most places, alternative truths are trying to be established in politics, economy or on a spiritual level.”
The two-day programme includes roundtable discussions on theological concepts such as the “splendour of truth” and the political and economic “uses of truth.” A debate entitled “What kind of truth do we want?” will also take place on the evening of 25th January.
The Federation des Medias Catholiques was established in 1996 with the aim of developing greater cooperation between French Catholic journalists and Church communications chiefs. 2018 is the first year in which the Federation has formally collaborated with the Vatican Secretariat for Communication. Msgr Dario Edoardo Viganò, Prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, will be attending the conference and making the opening remarks, along with Jean-Marie Montel, the President of the Federation des Medias Catholiques and Bishop Nicolas Brouwet, the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes. Other participants at the conference include philosophers, theologians, journalists, political scientists, and media relations experts.
Feast of St Francis de Sales
The opening day of the conference, 24th January, is the Feast day of Saint Francis de Sales. Known within his own lifetime for his communications work in both books and newspapers, St Francis de Sales was proclaimed Patron Saint of Journalists and writers, by Pope Pius XI in 1923.