"The Gospel in the Age of Global Communication"
1. The theme which I have chosen for World Communications Day 2001 echoes the words
of Jesus himself. It could not be otherwise, for it is Christ alone whom we preach. We
remember his words to his first disciples: "What I tell you in the dark, utter in the
light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops" (Mt 10:27). In the
secret of our heart, we have listened to the truth of Jesus; now we must proclaim that
truth from the housetops.
2. In all cultures and at all times - certainly in the midst of today's global
transformations - people ask the same basic questions about the meaning of life: Who am I?
Where have I come from and where am I going? Why is there evil? What is there after this
life?(cf. Fides et Ratio, 1).And in every age the Church offers the one ultimately satisfying
answer to the deepest questions of the human heart - Jesus Christ himself, "who fully reveals
man to himself and brings to light his high calling" (Gaudium et spes, 22). Therefore, the voice
of Christians can never fall silent, for the Lord has entrusted to us the word of salvation for
which every human heart longs. The Gospel offers the pearl of great price for which all are
searching (cf. Mt 13:45-46).
3. The world of the media can sometimes seem indifferent and even hostile to Christian
faith and morality. This is partly because media culture is so deeply imbued with a typically
postmodern sense that the only absolute truth is that there are no absolute truths or that,
if there were, they would be inaccessible to human reason and therefore irrelevant. In such
a view, what matters is not the truth but "the story"; if something is newsworthy or entertaining,
the temptation to set aside considerations of truth becomes almost irresistible. As a result,
the world of the media can sometimes seem no more friendly an environment for evangelization
than the pagan world of the Apostles' day. But just as the early witnesses to the Good News did
not retreat when faced with opposition, neither should Christ's followers do so today. The cry
of Saint Paul echoes among us still: "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel" (1 Cor 9:16).
4. It is vital too that at the beginning of this new millennium we keep in mind the mission
ad gentes which Christ has entrusted to the Church. An estimated two thirds of the world's six
billion people do not in any real sense know Jesus Christ; and many of them live in countries
with ancient Christian roots, where entire groups of the baptized have lost a living sense of
the faith, or no longer consider themselves members of the Church and live lives far removed
from the Lord and his Gospel (cf. Redemptoris missio, 33). Certainly, an effective response to
this situation involves much more than the media; but in striving to meet the challenge
Christians cannot possibly ignore the world of social communications. Indeed, media of every
kind can play an essential role in direct evangelization and in bringing to people the truths
and values which support and enhance human dignity. The Church's presence in the media is in
fact an important aspect of the inculturation of the Gospel demanded by the new evangelization
to which the Holy Spirit is summoning the Church throughout the world.
John Paul II