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Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord, 2000

World Day of Social Communications - Jubilee of Journalists

Pope St John Paul II's words at the Regina Caeli
St Peter's Square, VII Sunday of Easter, 4 June Jubilee 2000 - also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. Today the feast of Jesus' Ascension into heaven is being celebrated in many countries, including Italy. Forty days after his Resurrection, He was lifted up before his disciples' eyes and a cloud took him from their sight (cf Acts 1, 9). Jesus' public life ended in this way and the Church's missionary expansion began. From that day, Christ's disciples started to spread the Word of salvation everywhere, bearing witness to the death and resurrection of their divine Master.

Today the Church continues on this path, proclaiming the Gospel to the people of our time and telling everyone that our true, definitive homeland is not here below but "in heaven", that is in God.

However, this must not deter us from our involvement in the world, instead - as the lives of the saints show - it must strengthen it even more. Only by completing our mission on earth will we finally be able to enter into God's glory.

2. To proclaim and bear witness to Christ! This is the mission of every baptized person. This mission is referred to directly by the World Day of Social Communications, which is being celebrated today and whose theme is: Proclaiming Christ in the media at the dawn of the new millennium. Communications are certainly one of the most extensive areas of society; therefore the work of media professionals is very important. It was precisely to underscore this importance, which represents a pastoral priority for the Church, that the decision was made to celebrate the Jubilee of Journalists on this occasion, and I myself will shortly have the joy of meeting them.

The Ecclesial Community, conscious of the mandate it has received from Christ to "communicate" the Gospel, uses every means for this task, including the most modern. Journalists, media professionals and all who work in this sector in various ways are asked to carry out their mission responsibly, knowing that when one works with respect for the truth, a valuable service is rendered to the truth itself, and so also to the human person. I gladly express my grateful encouragement to journalists and to everyone working in the information field who, in every part of the world, dedicate themselves to the good of man by serving justice, freedom and peace, frequently at the cost of personal sacrifice.

3. May the Spirit of God help everyone who is seeking and serving the truth. May he help and guide the Church so that she can enter the new millennium filled with the light and strength of Christ.

Let us entrust this prayer to Mary. Together with her, in this week that prepares us for the feast of Pentecost, let us relive the prayerful waiting of the Apostles in the Upper Room."

After the Regina Caeli:

"Herzlich grüße ich die Pilger aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache. Besonders heiße ich die "Romläufer" aus Eggingen in der Erzdiözese Freiburg willkommen. Liebe Wallfahrer! Ihr seid zu Fuß in die Ewige Stadt gepilgert. Möge dieser Lauf für euch eine geistliche Erfahrung werden, damit ihr auch im Alltag den Spuren Jesu folgt. Dazu erbitte ich euch gern Gottes treuen Schutz und Segen.

Saluto con affetto i numerosi pellegrini presenti: in particolare i gruppi parrocchiali da Bottrighe, Morozzo ed Altamura; la Confraternita Maria SS. Assunta di Fasano e il gruppo di preghiera di Padre Pio, di Sondrio. Accolgo con gioia i tanti bambini, ragazzi e giovani di vari Paesi, aderenti a movimenti nati dalla Comunità di Sant'Egidio; come pure alunni e genitori della Scuola "Sacro Cuore", di Catania, delle Suore Betlemite. Un cordiale pensiero va ai pellegrini venuti a cavallo da Valentano (Viterbo), ai Canottieri che hanno partecipato alla regata sul Tevere, ed alla compagnia teatrale che presenta la commedia musicale su Sant'Antonio da Padova, intitolata "Fra' Cielo e Terra". Saluto e ringrazio le Bande musicali italiane, qui presenti per la celebrazione giubilare promossa dalla Federazione nazionale "Assomusica". Auguro inoltre ogni miglior successo per la significativa manifestazione sportiva ed umanitaria denominata "Derby del cuore", in programma a Milano allo stadio "Meazza", a sostegno delle associazioni di volontariato di Milano e Provincia. Grazie al contributo di tutti, questa iniziativa benefica aiuti tanti nostri fratelli in difficoltà a guardare con più fiducia verso l'avvenire.

A tutti la mia benedizione.

Pope John Paul II's address to Journalists on their Jubilee
Sunday, 4th June 2000 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In this year of the Great Jubilee, the Church is celebrating the event of the Incarnation, proclaimed by the Evangelist John in these words: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn 1, 14). A truly great mystery, a mystery of salvation, which culminates in the death and resurrection of Christ.

In this event lies the fate of the world. From it, in the gift and in the strength of the Holy Spirit, flows redemption for the people of every time and place. In the light of this mystery, I affectionately greet all of you who have gathered here to celebrate the Jubilee of Journalists.

In particular, I greet Archbishop John P. Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and Mrs Theresa Ee-Chooi, President of the International Catholic Union of the Press, and thank them for their kind words expressing the sentiments of everyone here.

I was keen to have this meeting with you, dear journalists, not only for the joy of joining you on your Jubilee journey, as I am doing with many other groups, but also out of the desire to pay a personal debt of gratitude to the countless professional journalists who have done all they can to make known the words and events of my ministry throughout the years of my Pontificate. I am deeply grateful for all this effort and for the objectivity and courtesy which have marked the great part of this service, and I ask the Lord to give each of them a fitting reward.

2. In the world of journalism this is a time of profound changes. The proliferation of new technologies is affecting every area by now and, to a greater or lesser degree, involves every human being. Globalization has increased the powers of the media, but has also made them more liable to ideological and commercial pressures. This should prompt you journalists to ask yourselves about the meaning of your vocation as committed Christians in the world of communications.

This is the crucial question that must characterize your Jubilee celebration on this World Day of Social Communications. Your passing through the Holy Door as pilgrims expresses a choice of life and says that you would like "to open doors to Christ" in your profession as well. He is the "Gospel", the "Good News". He is the model for everyone who, like you, is striving to make the light of truth penetrate every area of human life.

3. This encounter with Christ has been the aim of the programme you have followed in these days. On Thursday you prayed in the Sistine Chapel, where the splendour of art set before your eyes the drama of human history from Creation to the Last Judgement. On this great journey of humanity, we also see the truth about the human person created in the image of God and destined to eternal communion with him; we see the truth which is the basis of all ethics and which you are called to observe in your profession.

Yesterday you were at St Paul's tomb and today you have come to pray at St Peter's. They were the great "communicators" of faith at the dawn of Christianity. May their memory remind you of the specific vocation which distinguishes you as followers of Christ in the world of social communications: you are called to devote your professionalism to the service of the moral and spiritual good of individuals and of the human community.

4. This is the crux of the ethical question, which is inseparable from your work. Journalism, with its immense and direct influence on public opinion, cannot be guided by economic forces, profit and partisan interests alone. Instead, it must be regarded in a certain sense as a "sacred" task, to be carried out with the awareness that the powerful means of communication are entrusted to you for the common good and, in particular, for the good of society's weakest groups: from children to the poor, from the sick to those who are marginalized or discriminated against.

One cannot write or broadcast only with a view to audience share, to the prejudice of truly educational services. Nor can one make an indiscriminate appeal to the right to information without taking other personal rights into account. No freedom, including freedom of expression, is absolute: it is limited, in fact, by its duty to respect the dignity and legitimate freedom of others.

Nothing, however fascinating, can be written, produced or broadcast to the detriment of the truth: I am thinking here not only of the truth of the facts you report, but also of the "truth about man", of the dignity of the human person in all his dimensions.

As a sign of the Church's desire to be close to you as you meet this great challenge, a few days ago the Pontifical Council for Social Communications published the document Ethics in Communications. It is a warm invitation to journalists to commit themselves to serving the human person by building a society based on solidarity, justice and love, through the communication of the truth about human life and its final fulfilment in God (cf n 33). I thank the Pontifical Council for this document, which I recommend for your study and reflection.

5. Dear Brothers and Sisters! The Church and the media must walk together in their service to the human family. I therefore ask the Lord to grant that you may leave this Jubilee celebration with the conviction that it is possible to be both authentic Christians and excellent journalists.

The world of the media needs men and women who strive day after day to live this twofold dimension as best they can. This will happen more and more, if you can keep your gaze fixed on the One who is the centre of this Jubilee year, Jesus Christ, "the faithful witness ... who is and who was and who is to come" (Rv 1: 5, 8).

As I invoke his help on each of you and on your particularly demanding work, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and willingly extend it to your families and to all your loved ones."

The Holy Father then greeted the pilgrims & visitors in various languages:

[French] "Je vous salue cordialement, vous les journalistes présents à ce jubilé. Puissiez-vous trouver dans votre pèlerinage la force pour remplir votre service d’information et de formation de nos contemporains, les aidant à ouvrir leur coeur aux dimensions du monde! Il vous appartient d’avoir le souci de vous faire les témoins de la vérité, pour que l’homme soit toujours respecté. L’Église compte sur vous pour que vous sachiez retransmettre au monde le message d’espérance qui vient du Christ. Avec la Bénédiction apostolique."

"I warmly greet the English-speaking participants in the Jubilee of Journalists. May these days of pilgrimage be a time of intense personal renewal for each one of you, and an encouragement to you in your demanding profession. The great challenge facing you is to use your skills and your immense influence over public opinion in the faithful service of the truth about the human person. This means to defend life and build a human community ever more solidly based on solidarity, justice and love. May the joy and peace of Christ fill your hearts! May you and your families be blessed in every way!"

[Spanish] "Saludo a los profesionales de la comunicación de lengua española que participáis hoy en esta celebración jubilar. Os animo a continuar con vuestra tarea al servicio de la información, basada en la verdad y favoreciendo la solidaridad y el entendimiento entre todos."

[German] "Einen herzlichen Wilkommensgruß entbiete ich den Journalisten deutscher Sprache. Euer Beruf ist ein Dienst an der Wahrheit. Laßt euch bei eurem Reden und Schreiben von der Liebe leiten, gerade wenn die Wahrheit schwer zu ertragen ist. Dazu erbitte ich euch Gottes Heiligen Geist."

[Portuguese] "A minha saudação cordial aos jornalistas e demais operadores nos meios de comunicação social de língua portuguesa: Vós podeis e sabeis como fazer subir o termómetro da solidariedade no mundo; hoje, o Papa deseja renovar a todos a sua gratidão e estima pelas múltiplas iniciativas por vós apadrinhadas em favor das vítimas de tantos dramas humanos. Que Deus vos pague e abençoe!"

[Polish] "Serdecznie pozdrawiam dziennikarzy jezyka polskiego. Zycze Wam, abyscie zachowali wolnosc myslenia i trzewy osad rzeczywistosci. Badcie wierni prawdzie! Niech blask prawdy przenika Wasza sluzbe czlowiekowi, Kosciolowi i swiatu! Z serca Wam blogoslawie.



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