By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis on Thursday felicitated the Italian Catholic television network Telepace on its 40th anniversary, encouraging it to be the channel of the peace of the babe of Bethlehem by being the voice of the voiceless and avoiding gossip. He was speaking to some 140 officials and staff of Telepace which began in 1979 in the Diocese of Verona.
Among Telepace’s programmes are the Pope’s Wednesday general audience, his Sunday Angelus prayer and other celebrations as well as the Rosary.
Voice of the voiceless
Pope Francis reminded the Telepace staff of their very specific objective of being the “voice of those who have no voice”, saying this is especially needed today when the culture of waste leaves more and more people without a voice.
Defining the power of communication as "proximity" that “cares, comforts, heals, accompanies and celebrates", the Pope said that the instruments of communication are both a gift from God as well as a great responsibility.
Antenna of spirituality
Pope Francis particularly encouraged Telepace in three specific commitments. Firstly, he urged them to be an antenna of spiritualty recognizing in everything that happens the spiritual signs of the merciful love of the Father for people such as the poor person next door, the prisoners and those on death row.
In this regard he particularly appreciated Telepace’s initiative in accompanying 2 young men on death in Texas, USA, during their final moments, calling it a “spirituality of charity”.
Secondly, the Pope encouraged the network in educating young people in the school of the Gospel that wants us to witness to the love of the Lord and reach out to all the young people of the world.
The Pope said he would very much like the media to pay more attention to young people, not only by telling them of their failures but also speaking about their dreams and hopes.
Finally, the Holy Father urged Telepace to be storytellers avoiding the trap of gossip. The Pope regretted the widespread tendency of gossip that undermines the human community by sowing envy, jealousy and the craze for power is widespread.
Noting that much evil that can be done with the tongue by gossiping, even to the point of killing a person, the Pope urged media persons to communicate responsibly. He invited them to promote a journalism of peace, serving the majority of the world who have no voice.
In conclusion, the Pope urged Telepace to be true to its name – the television of peace, symbolized in the dove holding an olive branch in its beak, flying high on the wings of prayer and charity.