“Catholic communication is not only providing information about the Church…it is the capacity of building communion,” Paolo Ruffini, the prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communications, said during the June 30 opening session of a virtual conference conducted by the Catholic Press Association.
The virtual conference aims to bring together Catholic journalists and communications professionals, and will feature seminars and workshops conducted June 30 through July 2.
Because Catholics are “united in one body,” Ruffini said during his remarks, Catholic communication should be different from the approach of secular media outlets, because Catholic media should focus on “the possibility of redemption,” and aim to “keep alive our togetherness.”
“Linking is our job. Linking memories. Linking facts. Linking people,” Ruffini said.
The prefect urged journalists to “show witnesses” of the Gospel, and to “build bridges to overcome conflicts.” He noted that the pandemic has become for many an isolating experience, noting that “even in the Church we experience the risk of an individualistic approach” that undermines Christian communion.
To overcome that tendency, Ruffini said that as the Church is build upon “the humility of St. Peter,” the work of Catholic journalists should also aim for humility, mutual aid, and Christian discipleship.
Speaking on a panel with Ruffini were Natasa Goveka, an official of the Vatican’s communications secretariat, and Bishop Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Goveka noted initiatives of the Vatican’s communications apparatus, while Tighe discussed the efforts at cultural dialogue undertaken by his office.
Panelists were asked about how dioceses can engage in communications efforts amid severe financial cuts in many dioceses. Tighe urged collaboration among dioceses, and investment in social media initiatives.
“If we have faith, we will find resources,” Ruffini added.
More than 250 people tuned into the session, which was offered for free.
Pope Francis sent a message Tuesday to members of the Catholic Press Association, appealing to Catholic journalists to help break down barriers of misunderstanding between people.
“We need media capable of building bridges, defending life and breaking down the walls, visible and invisible, that prevent sincere dialogue and truthful communication between individuals and communities,” he wrote.
“We need media that can help people, especially the young, to distinguish good from evil, to develop sound judgments based on a clear and unbiased presentation of the facts, and to understand the importance of working for justice, social concord and respect for our common home.”
He continued: “We need men and women of conviction who protect communication from all that would distort it or bend it to other purposes.”