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Mercy theme for World Communications Day

By Sarah Mac Donald - 30 September, 2015

Pope Francis in CagliariThe Pontifical Council for Social Communication has announced that the theme for World Communications Day in 2016 is ‘Communication and Mercy: a fruitful encounter’.

The theme is inspired by the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy.

The choice of this theme is intended to highlight how social communications should be centred on mercy, dialogue and welcome.

The communique from the Vatican on Tuesday said the Pope desired that World Communications Day would provide the appropriate occasion to reflect on the deep synergy between communication and mercy.

In the Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee Year, the Pope affirmed that “The Church is commissioned to announce the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel, which in its own way must penetrate the heart and mind of every person.”

“Her language and her gestures must transmit mercy, so as to touch the hearts of all people and inspire them once more to find the road that leads to the Father. It is helpful, in this regard, to remember that our reflection is situated in the context of an awareness that communication is a key element for the promotion of a culture of encounter.”

The theme also highlights the capacity of good communication to open up a space for dialogue, mutual understanding and reconciliation, thereby allowing fruitful human encounters to flourish.

At a time when attention is often drawn to the polarised and judgmental nature of much commentary in social media, the theme invokes the power of words and gestures to overcome misunderstandings, to heal memories and to build peace and harmony.

Pope Francis is also underlining that good communication is never merely the product of the latest or most developed technology, but is realised within the context of a deep interpersonal relationship.

The Pope’s message for World Communications Day is traditionally published on the feast day of St Francis de Sales, patron of writers (24 January).

World Communications Day is celebrated every year on the Sunday before Pentecost, which next year is on 8 May.

It was established by Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council in order to draw attention to the “the vast and complex phenomenon of the modem means of social communication.”

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