Benedict XVI is inviting Catholic journalists to bear witness to their faith by the life they lead.
In a message sent to the president of the Catholic Union of the Italian Press (UCSI), Massimo Milone, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the union's foundation, the Pope called on journalists to live consistently with the ideals they profess. He said the world expects this sort of example from Catholics.
Expressing his "appreciation for the precious service the UCSI has offered in the course of its 50 years of life to the Church and the country," the Bishop of Rome recognized that "many things have changed" since its birth -- "in the most visible way in sectors from science to technology, from economy to geopolitics; in a less apparent way, but more profoundly and more disconcertingly, in the ambit of current culture."
In the latter, he observed, "there seems to be a notable flagging of respect for the dignity of the person and the sense of values such as justice, freedom and solidarity, which are essential for the survival of society."
In this context, the work of Catholic journalists, "anchored in a patrimony of principles rooted in the Gospel," has become more difficult today, the Pontiff said.
Along with a sense of responsibility and a spirit of service, he continued, the members of the UCSI need an "always more notable professionalism and a greater capacity for dialogue with the atheist world, in search of shared values."
"The more consistent is the witness of your life, the larger your audience will grow," the Pontiff told them. "Not a few of your nonbelieving colleagues privately expect from you the silent witness, without ostentation but with substance, of a life inspired by the values of the faith."
Recognizing that Catholic journalists are committed to "a task that is more and more demanding, in which the spaces of freedom are often threatened and economic and political interests often overcome the spirit of service and the criteria of the common good," the Pope encouraged them "not to give in to compromises of such important values, but to have the courage of consistency, even at personal cost: A serene conscience has no price."
In this regard he assured them that he would pray to the Lord, asking him to help them fulfill the exhortation made by St. Peter: "to be always ‘ready to reply to whoever asks you about the reason for your hope.'"
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