In his latest prayer video Pope Francis dedicates the month of October to praying for journalists – specifically that their work would always be motivated by strong ethics and respect for the truth.
The video, released Oct. 4, opens showing scenes of a television
studio, recording studio, writing desks and satellites, which flash
across the screen as the Pope speaks.
Addressing viewers in his native Spanish, the Pope says he often
wonders, “How can media be put to the service of a culture of
“We need information leading to a commitment for the common good of
humanity and the planet,” he said, and, as the faces of different
journalists around the Vatican flashed across the screen, asked if
viewers would join him in praying for those who work in the field of
Specifically, he prayed “that journalists, in carrying out their
work, may always be motivated by respect for the truth and a strong
sense of ethics.”
The video closes with the Pope asking viewers if they can help him
with the request, a question to which the journalists featured each
respond one by one saying, “yes.”
Among the journalists featured in the video is Alvaro de Juana, a
Rome correspondent for CNA’s sister-agency ACI Prensa. Originally from
Spain, he has been working as a journalist for 12 years.
In comments to CNA, de Juana said having strong ethics and a high
respect for the truth are always important, but moreover carry special
weight in today’s society.
“For years there has been talk of an economic crisis, but the Church
and concretely Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have said on
many occasions that there is also a crisis of values,” he noted.
Within this crisis, “ethics and morality have been forgotten and have
been discarded in many environments and in important questions,” de
Juana said, explaining that because of this, a journalist “has the duty
to respect ethics and morality.”
“There is no journalism without ethics,” he said, explaining that if
ethics were removed from the equation, “it would be to dirty and
undermine this profession that has the truth as its foundation.”
Communication also plays a fundamental role in evangelization, he
said, noting that “the Church is universal and we could say that
communication is, too.”
Christ used words and actions to make God’s love known to the people,
and in doing so communicated, de Juana said, adding that communication
is “a very important instrument” that can be used to reach those far
from the Church.
When asked how journalists themselves can collaborate with the Pope
in helping to ensure his prayer is answered, de Juana said the answer is
simply “being faithful to this principle of the truth” and by carrying
out one’s work with the conviction that “not everything goes.”
“The Pope asks that all journalists and people who work in
communication to be faithful to these principals,” regardless of whether
or not they are Catholic or not.
The theme Pope Francis chose for 2017's World Day of Communications
was released late last month, and is titled “'Fear not, for I am with
you' (Is 43:5): Communicating hope and trust in our time.”
In the communique published alongside the theme, the Vatican's
Secretariat for Communications said the theme was “an invitation to tell
the history of the world and the histories of men and women in
accordance with the logic of the 'good news.'”
Shortly before the announcement of the theme, Pope Francis had a
Sept. 22 audience with journalists, during which he reflected on the
importance of respect for human dignity, telling them that their
profession can never be used as a destructive weapon, nor should it be
used to nourish fear.
“Certainly criticism is legitimate, and, I would add, necessary, just
as is the denunciation of evil, but this must always be done respecting
the other, his life and his affect. Journalism cannot become a 'weapon
of destruction' of persons or even nations,” the Pope said at the
Vatican's Clementine Hall.
“Neither must it nourish fear in front of changes or phenomena such as migration forced by war or by hunger,” he said.
An initiative of the Jesuit-run global prayer network Apostleship of
Prayer, the Pope’s prayer videos are filmed in collaboration with the
Vatican Television Center and mark the first time the Roman Pontiff’s
monthly prayer intentions have been featured on video.
The Apostleship of Prayer, which produces the monthly videos on the
Pope’s intentions, was founded by Jesuit seminarians in France in 1884
to encourage Christians to serve God and others through prayer,
particularly for the needs of the Church.
Since the late 1800s, the organization has received a monthly,
“universal” intention from the Pope. In 1929, an additional missionary
intention was added by the Holy Father, aimed at the faithful in
While there are two intentions, the prayer videos are centered on the first, universal intention.
His intentions this year have so far focused on themes he speaks out
about frequently, such as interreligious dialogue, care for creation,
families in hardship, the elderly and marginalized, and respect for
Francis’ prayer intentions for the rest of the year are listed on the
organization’s website and center on other themes close to Francis’
heart, such as prayers for countries receiving migrants and refugees,
and an end to child-soldiers.