Pope Francis: Communication must build communion, fraternity

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) — At a time when social media can tend to divide people, Christian media must instead work to unite men and women, Pope Francis has said.

Meeting with a delegation from the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land in Rome to commemorate the 100th anniversary of their bi-monthly magazine “Terrasanta,” the pope encouraged the group to continue highlighting stories of true brotherhood, especially “the brotherhood between Christians from churches and denominations unfortunately still separated, but which in the Holy Land are often already close to unity”.

“Communication, in the age of social media, should help build community, or better yet, brotherhood,” he said.

Founded in Jerusalem in 1921, the journal is published in six languages: Italian, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic. Although now published in Milan, the magazine continues to report on the church, current and historical events, archaeological finds, and people and cultures in the Holy Land.

Pope Francis began his address to the 44-member delegation – led by Franciscan Father Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land – by apologizing for remaining seated due to leg pain.

Pope Francis greets Father Francesco Patton, Custody of the Holy Land, during an audience with a delegation of communicators from the Custody of the Holy Land at the Vatican on January 17, 2022. The meeting marked the centenary of the group’s magazine, “Terrasanta ” The Custody of the Holy Land is made up of Franciscan friars who serve pilgrims and churches in the Holy Land (CNS Photo/Vatican Media)

“Excuse me if I remain seated, but my leg hurts today. It hurts, it hurts when I’m standing. That way it’s better for me,” he said.

The pope has suffered for several years from sciatica, which the Mayo Clinic says can cause sharp pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back through the hips and down each leg.

In his address, the pope congratulated the delegation on the centenary and praised the work of the group to make known the Holy Land, a place which is “the historical and geographical environment in which the word of God was revealed and s is embodied in Jesus of Nazareth, for us and for our salvation.

The magazine, the pope said, also plays an essential role in informing the world about “the life of Christians of different churches and confessions, but also that of Jews and Muslims, in an attempt to build a fraternal society in such a complex context. and difficult than that of the Middle East.

He also praised their efforts in reporting on conflict zones in the Middle East, including Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Gaza.

“I know that you try to present stories of kindness, those of active resistance to the evil of war, those of reconciliation, those of the surrender of dignity to children stripped of their childhood, those of refugees with their dramas but also with their dreams and hopes,” the pope said.

Pope Francis encouraged members of “Terrasanta” to continue their work which he said has enriched the faith of many, especially “those who do not have the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to holy places.”

“This is precious for believers all over the world and, at the same time, supports Christians who live in the land of Jesus,” the pope said. “And I want to take this opportunity to express my closeness to them. I always remember them, also in prayer. Please, when you return home, convey my greetings and my blessing to the families and Christian communities of the Holy Land.

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Copyright © 2022 Catholic News Service/United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


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