By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Media who identify as Catholic must live “in a spirit of communion” with the pope, especially at a time of “overly dramatic debates, also within the Church, which do not spare not even the person and magisterium of the pontiff,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin told employees of EWTN and its affiliated outlets.
“Communion is in the DNA of communication and is fundamentally its greatest aspiration,” the cardinal said. “Communication that instead fans the flames of polarization or builds walls instead of tearing them down, betrays its very nature.”
Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, spoke Oct. 19 at a dinner with Michael Warsaw, CEO of EWTN, and European employees of his TV, radio, and print media.
Vatican News and the Vatican Press Office released the Cardinal’s full text after ACI Prensa, the Spanish-language news service owned by EWTN, published an article under the headline: “Cardinal Pietro Parolin defines EWTN as ‘ a work of God in the service of truth”. .’”
Instead, according to the text, the cardinal prayed that a “spirit of communion” with Pope Francis would be “the hallmark of your work” and that viewers and readers might “recognize EWTN as a work of God at the service of truth, of ecclesial communion and of the good of humanity.
The truth, he said, is crucial for journalists and other communicators and is an issue that “has become increasingly prominent in public debate due to both the spread of the fake news phenomenon as well as of a type of communication often based on a distorted, or false, representation of the other.
Such distortions are the result of “a type of fanaticism based on the belief that the truth one believes in is so absolute that it legitimizes the destruction of another person” and attempts “to impose one’s own vision of truth to everyone”.
Cardinal Parolin quoted Mother Angelica, the late founder of EWTN, who said, “It is our duty to tell the truth, and everyone can assume this duty or not. But the truth must above all be within us.
“The truth does not belong to us; we serve the truth,” the cardinal said. “And we can only serve him in love and in unity. We are its keepers, not its owners.
Cardinal Parolin also quoted Pope Francis’ 2020 message to the Catholic Media Association on how Catholic communicators should promote communion, especially “at a time marked by the conflict and polarization that the Catholic community -even is not immune”.
“A great international news network, like EWTN, which invokes the message of the Gospel, is therefore called to promote understanding between people, dialogue between communities and the search for places and opportunities which create contacts between distant worlds, sometimes in conflict with each other”, says the cardinal.
The media, especially those who call themselves Catholic, “must strive not to spread hatred, but rather to promote non-hostile communication.”