Pope John Paul I - Address to Journalists - 1 September 1978

[photograph of Pope John Paul I] We are happy in the first week of our pontificate to be able to welcome such a qualified and numerous representation of the "world" of social communications, in Rome for two events which, for the Catholic Church and the world at large, have had a deep significance: the death of our lamented predecessor Paul VI and the recent conclave when the formidable weight of church service as supreme pastor was placed on our humble and frail shoulders.

This pleasing meeting gives us a chance to thank you for the sacrifices and toil which you have faced during the month of August in serving world public opinion - yours, too, is a very important service - by offering to your readers, listeners and television viewers, with the rapid and immediate delivery required of your responsible and sensitive profession, the possibility of participating in these historical events, in their religious dimension, with their deep connection to human values and the expectations of today's society.

We want to tell you especially of our gratitude for the commitment made by you in these days, in letting the public know better the figure, the teachings, the work and the example of Paul VI and for the attentive sensitivity with which you have sought to capture and translate in your numberless dispatches and full analyses, as well as through the multitude of images transmitted from Rome, the expectation of this city, of the Catholic Church and of all the world over a new pastor to assure the continuity of Peter's mission.

The sacred inheritance left us by Vatican Council II and by our predecessors John XXIII and Paul VI. of dear and holy memory, demands from us the promise of special attention, of a frank, honest and effective collaboration with the mass media which you worthily represent. It is a promise which we make willingly, aware as we are of the more and more important function which the mass media are assuming in the life of modern man.

We do not hide the risks of massification and simplification which are inherent in such instruments, with threatening consequences for the spirituality of the individual and for his capacity for personal reflection and for objectivity of judgment.

But we are well aware also of the new and happy possibilities offered to today's men to know each other better and to grow closer, and to see closer up the anxieties over justice, peace and brotherhood and to establish through these deeper bonds of participation, of understanding and of solidarity in view of a world that is more just and human.

We know, in a word, that the ideal goal toward which all of you direct your efforts, despite the difficulties and delusions is to arrive through communications at a more real communion.

And it is this goal toward which the heart of the vicar of him who taught us to call on God as the one loving Father of every human being aspires, as you can well understand.

Before giving our blessing to each of you and to your families, a blessing which we would like to extend to all collaborators of the information instruments you represent - agencies, newspapers, radio and television - we'd like to assure you of the esteem we have for your profession and the care which we will take to facilitate your noble and difficult mission, in the spirit of the council decree Inter Mirifica and the pastoral instruction Communia et Progressio.

When major events happen and when the Holy See publishes important documents, you will often have to present the church, speak of the church, and sometimes comment on our humble ministry. We are sure that you will do it with love of truth and respect for human dignity because such is the goal of all social communications. We ask you to help safeguard in today's society a deep regard for the things of God and for the mysterious relationship between God and each of us, which constitutes the sacred dimension of human reality.

Please understand the deep reasons for which the pope, the church and its pastors must sometimes ask for a spirit of sacrifice, generosity and renunciation to build up a world of justice, love and peace.

With the certainty of maintaining ever in the future this spiritual bond begun in the meeting, we give to you with open heart our apostolic blessing.
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