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Pope urges media practitioners to promote love and unity

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Emeritus Prof. Mercy Olumide<br />

As Catholics Observe World Communications Day Without Mass

Pope Francis will today mark the yearly World Communications Day with Catholic faithful worldwide. Themed, “That you may tell your children and grandchildren (Ex. 10:2) Life becomes history,” the programme will be observed at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos, without the usual mass.

It is a day set aside by Pope Francis to celebrate media practitioners globally, with a view to ginger them on the responsibility of their duty and the demand to build a better world.

Aside Pope Francis’ admonition to media practitioners to embark on stories that promote values and virtues, they are also to promote the common good, as well as build celebrities and heroes. He wants the media to resuscitate the age-long form of communication bordering on storytelling.

Francis said stories are very important to human life because human beings are storytellers by nature. He added that stories foster growth and self-discovery in humans, thereby enriching them for the struggles of daily living.

The Catholic head noted that no one really outgrows the love for stories because they naturally have the power to refresh and arrest human mind, inspire and influence human choices in daily life struggles. This means stories are not just the texts of words or prints, as if they were abstract and distinct from humanity. Rather, they are real extensions of human persons in the various circumstances they find themselves.

He observed that stories influence lives, whether in the form of fairy tales, novels, films, songs, news and even if “we do not always realise it,” they “leave their mark on us, as they shape our convictions and behaviour.”

He said: “Good stories are constructive because they help to build up relationship and society, but bad stories are destructive and provocative because they wear down and break the fragile threads binding people together as a society.

“The spewing of bad stories can be traced to the serpent’s encounter with the woman in the book of Genesis, where he distorted the truth, gave false hope to the woman, which precipitated man’s fall and eroded the love of God that informed the creation of man in His own image and likeness.”

The Pope called on Church leaders, pastoral agents, media practitioners, as well as men and women of goodwill to imbibe the culture of telling good stories that would promote love and unity. He urged them to concentrate more on scriptural stories about God’s love for humanity, The love that made Him create man in His image, and how He sent Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son to save man from sins.


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