Pope: ‘Vatican media reform must embrace the challenge of change’
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged members of Vatican media platforms not to be afraid of reform, and to embrace the challenge of change that will enable them to bring the message of the Gospel to all.
Addressing representatives of the Secretariat for Communications (SPC) gathered for its first Plenary Assembly, the Pope said that to “reform is not just to whitewash things; it’s to give them a different form and organization”.
“It’s something, he said to those charged with overhauling the Vatican’s different news and media outlets, to be done with intelligence and what he called a good kind of ‘violence’.”
Headed by the Prefect, msgr. Dario Viganò, the new Dicastery was created by Pope Francis exactly two years ago with the mandate to unify all Vatican communications platforms: the Vatican Television Center, the Vatican Publishing House, The Osservatore Romano newspaper, Vatican Radio, the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican Photographic Service, the Vatican Internet Service, the Vatican Printing Press and the former Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
Describing the issues addressed during the Plenary are “very dear to his heart,” Pope Francis said the work taken on by the SPC aims to “find new criteria and new ways of communicating the Gospel of mercy to all peoples and cultures making use of the new digital culture at our disposal”.
He highlighted the fact that – as specified in his ‘Motu proprio’ which established the new Dicastery – the reform is not about coordinating or merging the various platforms, but sets up something completely new with a single and unified management which will be able to better respond to the needs of the Church’s mission.
Reflecting on the fact that in the past each platform had its own channels and mediums of communication (the written word, images, audio) the Pope said that “all these forms of communication today are transmitted with a single code that uses the binary system.”
Thus, he said, the Vatican newspaper is called to find a new and different way to reach a much higher number of readers that it does through its printed format.
He said that through the years Vatican Radio has become an ensemble of portals and “must be reshaped according to new models so it can conform to modern technologies and to the needs of our contemporaries”.
And regarding the Vatican’s radiophonic service, the Pope had special words of appreciation for the efforts being made in consideration of countries that are not technologically developed – “I think of Africa” he said – praising the “rationalization of Short Wave frequencies that have never been dismantled.
“History undoubtedly represents a precious patrimony of experience to be safeguarded and used as a push towards the future” he said, pointing out that otherwise it would be a mere museum: “interesting and nice to visit, but unable to provide the strength and courage for the continuation of the journey.”
Pope Francis concluded his address encouraging the SPC to courageously bring the reform to completion with an apostolic and missionary spirit, and asked there be a special regard and attention for situations of need, poverty and difficulty within the knowledge that they must be faced with adequate solutions:
“Let us resist the temptation of being attached to a glorious past; let’s all be team players in order to better respond to the new communication challenges posed by culture today without fear and without foreseeing apocalyptic scenarios.”