Pope Francis warns Catholic journalists against pessimism

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Pope Francis at the general audience in St. Peter's Square on April 18, 2018. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Catholic journalists should be guided not by despair and negativity, but by a commitment to sharing the beauty of the human person, Pope Francis told a group of media students Friday.

How easy it is “to be carried away by common opinion, by defeatism and by a pessimism that paralyzes and blinds!” the pope said Nov. 9.

Christian journalists, on the other hand, are distinguished by “your positive attitude towards the person and your professional ethics,” he continued. “You do not just do a job, but fulfill an assignment and a commitment.”

“We ask for parresia,” the pope said, referencing a Greek rhetorical term which means to speak boldly and candidly, adding: “We ask for the frankness that comes from the Holy Spirit and that helps us to trust in the truth of Christ that makes us free.”

He urged Christian journalists to go beyond the “wall of sadness and resignation” to help people open their eyes and ears, and to open their hearts to others; recognizing that they have a responsibility toward others, who are daughters and sons of the same Father.

Pope Francis spoke during a meeting with around 340 faculty and students of the Institute for the Promotion of Young Journalists (IFP), a Catholic journalism school located in Munich, Germany. The audience took place for the institute’s 50th anniversary.

The pope commended the school’s training of qualified Christian journalists, which began following the Second Vatican Council with the intention of revitalizing the media.

He said Germany is fortunate to have IFP graduates among the country’s many journalists, both in secular and Church media.

He thanked the young journalists for telling the stories that do not always make front-page news, but which are beautiful and “put people at the center.”

“Thank you,” he concluded, “because with your Christian way, you accompany the work of the Church. I wish you to continue to do a journalism of people for the people. And please do not forget to pray for me.”

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