By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY — What’s the recipe for successful communication?
Pope Francis spelled it out in his first World Communications Day message released yesterday, and on other occasions as well.
For today’s feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of the Catholic press and journalists, here’s a sampling of some of his simple tips:
- Without losing your bearings, expand your knowledge. Don’t barricade yourselves “behind sources of information, which only confirm (your) own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests.”
A couple embrace during the World Meeting of Families in Milan June 2012. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
- Don’t isolate yourselves from the people around you.
- “We need to love and be loved” so help your digital connections “grow into true encounters.” Make it a network “not of wires but of people.”
- Be deliberate, calm. Take the time to be silent and listen. Be patient with people “who are different” as you try to understand them.
Parents listening to their teenage daughter during dinner. (CNS photo illustration/Sid Hastings) (2011)
- Don’t just tolerate, be genuinely attentive and accept the other — it will help them to express themselves more fully.
- “Learn to look at the world with different eyes and come to appreciate the richness of human experience” seen in different cultures and traditions.
- Use the Internet, this “gift from God,” to grow closer to others, inspire solidarity, improve human dignity.
- Use the power of media and communication to turn us into neighbors.
- Dangers to avoid: information overload and manipulative messages that might “condition our responses that we fail to see our real neighbor.”
- Don’t let media strategies strangle the need to “ensure beauty, goodness and truth in communication.”
A visitor takes photos of ancient fragments of the New Testament at a Vatican exhibit in 2012. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
- Impartiality in the media? The pope says it’s just a show. Strive instead to be a true point of reference for people, which means going out into the mix as you are with tenderness. “Personal engagement is the basis of the trustworthiness of a communicator.”
- “Boldly become citizens of the digital world” without overlooking those who lack access and might be left behind.
- Risk getting “bruised” by going out “to the streets” and digital highways where people are looking for healing, meaning and hope.