At first glance, it may seem strange to choose silence as the theme for World Communications Day 2012, but that is just what the Pontifical Council for Social Communications has done.
In a statement released today, they explain this choice, pointing out that silence is more than the absence of noise or sound. ‘Silence and Word: path of evangelisation’ is the message for the next World Communications Day scheduled the Sunday before Pentecost (in 2012, 20 May).
Part of the statement reads:
“The extraordinarily varied nature of the contribution of modern communications to society highlights the need for a value which, on first consideration, might seem to stand in contradistinction to it. In the thought of Pope Benedict XVI, silence is not presented simply as an antidote to the constant and unstoppable flow of information that characterises society today but rather as a factor that is necessary for its integration. Silence, precisely because it favours habits of discernment and reflection, can in fact be seen primarily as a means of welcoming the word.
“We ought not to think in terms of a dualism, but of the complementary nature of two elements which when they are held in balance serve to enrich the value of communication and which make it a key factor that can serve the new evangelisation. It is clearly the desire of the Holy Father to associate the theme of the next World Communications Day with the celebration of the forthcoming Synod of Bishops which will have as its own theme: ‘The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith’.”
The connection between world communications day and the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation signals how important both events are to the Holy Father, who calls for reflection and prayer as being a vital part of understanding the Gospel we are called to spread. St Francis is thought to have said, “Preach the Gospel and if necessary use words.” Even if the great man from Assisi was misquoted, it shows how “Preaching” means more than just talking.
It will be great to see how Pope Benedict develops this theme when he releases his message for World Communications Day early next year on the feast of the patron saint of writers St Francis de Sales, January 24th.
Of related interest: