World Communications Day

World Communications Day was established by Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council in order to draw attention to “the vast and complex phenomenon of the modern means of social communication.” One of the documents produced by the Second Vatican Council, Inter Mirifica (Decree on the Media of Social Communication), was devoted entirely to communications media and it initiated the only worldwide annual celebration commissioned by the Council – World Communications Day – which was first celebrated in 1967 and continues to be observed annually.

On World Communications Day, all Catholics are encouraged to reflect upon the various media of social communications and how these influence our lives. It is important to remember that communications media are gifts given to us by God but that, like all gifts, they must be used wisely. Messages presented by the media may be helpful or they may be harmful. As Pope Francis stated in his message for this year’s World Communications Day,

Communication has the power to build bridges, to enable encounter and inclusion, and thus to enrich society. How beautiful it is when people select their words and actions with care, in the effort to avoid misunderstandings, to heal wounded memories and to build peace and harmony. Words can build bridges between individuals and within families, social groups and peoples. This is possible both in the material world and the digital world. Our words and actions should be such as to help us all escape the vicious circles of condemnation and vengeance which continue to ensnare individuals and nations, encouraging expressions of hatred. The words of Christians ought to be a constant encouragement to communion and, even in those cases where they must firmly condemn evil, they should never try to rupture relationships and communication.

Today, the Catholic Church continues to use all forms of communications technology in order to carry on the mission entrusted to the Apostles by Jesus: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt 20:19-10)

Click here to see what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches about  the use of the social communications media.