“Speak with the heart: Veritatem facientes in caritate” (Eph 4:15) is the theme Pope Francis has chosen for World Day of Social Communications, 2023. The theme connects ideally with that of 2022, “Listen with the ear of the heart”, and is intended in particular to form part of the path that will lead the entire Church to the celebration of the Synod in October 2023. Speaking with the heart means giving “a reason for your hope” (1 Pt 3:14-17) and doing so gently, using the gift of communication as a bridge and not as a wall. In a time characterized — also in ecclesial life — by polarization and heated debates that exacerbate tempers, we are invited to go against the grain.
We must not fear to state the at times uncomfortable truth that finds its foundation in the Gospel, but we must not separate this proclamation from a style of mercy, of sincere participation in the joys and sufferings of people of our time, as the Gospel page that narrates the dialogue between the mysterious wayfarer and the disciples of Emmaus teaches us in a sublime way.
Today, in the dramatic context of global conflict that we are experiencing, the affirmation of non-hostile communication is more necessary than ever. A communication open to dialogue with the other, that fosters “integral disarmament”, that strives to dismantle the “psychosis of war” that lurks in our hearts, as Saint John XXIII prophetically exhorted sixty years ago in Pacem in Terris. It is an effort that is required of everyone, but in particular of communication workers called upon to exercise their profession as a mission for building a more just, more fraternal and more human future.