On November 13, the Holy Father received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, who have dedicated their gathering this year to the theme: “The Culture of Communication and New Languages”.
The Pope began by expressing his appreciation for the “original idea” of inaugurating the plenary in Rome’s Town Hall “with a round table discussion on the theme of ‘In the city, listening to the languages of the soul’. In this way”, he said, “the dicastery aimed to give expression to one of its essential tasks, that of listening to the men and women of our time, in order to promote new opportunities for announcing the Gospel”.
In this context the Holy Father also referred to the problems that pastors and faithful encounter “in communicating the evangelical message and transmitting the faith within the ecclesial community itself”, especially “when the Church addresses men and women removed from or indifferent to an experience of faith, whom the evangelical message reaches in a way that is ineffective and unattractive. In a world that lays so much emphasis on communications strategy, the Church … is not indifferent or isolated; quite the contrary, she seeks to use – with renewed creativity, critical sense and careful discernment – the new languages and channels of communication.
“The incapacity of language to communicate the profound meaning and beauty of the experience of faith can contribute to the indifference of many, especially the young, and can become a reason for abandonment”, the Pope added. “The Church wishes to establish dialogue with everyone, in the search for truth. But in order for dialogue and communication to be effective and fruitful it is necessary for people to be on the same wavelength, in places for friendly and sincere encounter, in that ideal ‘Court of the Gentiles’ which I suggested … a year ago and which the dicastery is putting into effect in various emblematic fields of European culture”.
Benedict XVI went on: “Today many young people, bemused by the infinite possibilities offered by information networks and other technologies, establish forms of communication that do not contribute to human growth; rather, they risk increasing the sense of solitude and bewilderment. Faced with such phenomena I have spoken on a number of occasions of the educational emergency, a challenge which can and must be answered with creative intelligence, committing ourselves to promote forms of communication which humanise, stimulating the capacity to evaluate and discern”.
Going on then to consider “the rich and intense symbolism of the liturgy, which must shine forth in all its power as an element of communication”, the Pope spoke of last Sunday’s liturgy at the basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. That building, he said, is the masterpiece of the architect Antoni Gaudi “who brilliantly melded sacred and liturgical meaning into artistic forms that are both modern and in harmony with the finest architectural traditions. Nonetheless, the beauty of Christian life is even more incisive than art and image in communicating the evangelical message”, he said.
The Holy Father concluded by highlighting the need for “men and women who speak through their lives, who can communicate the Gospel clearly and courageously with the transparency of their actions and the joyful passion of their charity”.