The Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication reminded Asian bishops that Catholic communication is “communional” rather than functional.
Speaking on “Communication in the Church Today” during the 28th annual Bishops’ Meet, Dr. Paolo Ruffini said the Catholic Church’s social communication must allow people and communities to flourish in communion.
“More than an office, communication is also a mission” that celebrates the commonality of peoples and promotes participation, he said.
“Charity, however, is the key to communication.” This is why only the human person, gifted with the “capacity to love and feeling of belongingness,” can communicate in the most profound sense.
The Bishops’ Meet was organized by the Office of Social Communication (OSC) of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) in Bangkok, Thailand last week.
The Second Vatican Council saw early on the importance of social communication. Attesting to this fact is the 1963 release of both Sancrosantum Concilium Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, and the Decree Inter Mirifica on the Means of Social Communication, just over a year since the Council’s inauguration.
Prefect Ruffini then told the bishop chairmen and secretaries for social communication to “not functionalize the mission.”
“Communication is first and foremost a mutual gift of ourselves, a gift that comes from the relationship we establish with the other.”
Moreover, “communicating in charity is for everyone and not only for professionals,” the Prefect stressed.
“The first Christians were recognized in the way they loved both in word and deed. Love and compassion, in fact, were their universal language.”
“Christ Himself communicated not only with words but with His body, His way of life, and through the relationships he built.”
Further, Dr. Ruffini said that “the first ‘means of communication’ of the Gospel is thus our life transfigured by communion with God and one another.”
The Prefect reminded the bishops and clergy that evangelization differs from “selling a product.” As Christian communicators, “We are communicating life. We are sharing the beauty of an encounter,” he said.
Christian communication can only be related to life and the ‘giving of self in love,” the Prefect concluded.
Dr. Ruffini worked as a professional journalist since 1979. From 2014 to 2018, he served as director of the television station of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, TV2000.
In 2018, Pope Francis appointed him Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication in the Vatican.