Pope Francis: Global Synodal Path ‘a Great Opportunity to Listen to One Another’
World Communications Day, established by Pope Paul VI in 1967, will be celebrated this year on Sunday, May 29.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said on Monday that the two-year global consultation process leading to the Synod on Synodality is “a great opportunity” for Catholics to listen to one another.
Writing in his World Communications Day message, released on Jan. 24, the Pope expressed concern that people were “losing the ability to listen,” both in the Church and wider public life.
“A synodal process has just been launched,” he wrote. “Let us pray that it will be a great opportunity to listen to one another.”
“Communion, in fact, is not the result of strategies and programs, but is built in mutual listening between brothers and sisters.”
Pope Francis formally invited the world’s Catholics last October to take part in a consultation process leading to the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 2023.
In his message, entitled “Listening with the ear of the heart,” the Pope reflected on biblical passages illustrating the importance of listening.
“Among the five senses, the one favored by God seems to be hearing, perhaps because it is less invasive, more discreet than sight, and therefore leaves the human being more free,” he wrote.
“Listening corresponds to the humble style of God. It is the action that allows God to reveal himself as the One who, by speaking, creates man and woman in his image, and by listening recognizes them as his partners in dialogue.”
The Pope lamented what he described as an absence of listening in public discourse.
“The lack of listening, which we experience so often in daily life, is unfortunately also evident in public life, where, instead of listening to each other, we often ‘talk past one another,’” he observed.
“This is a symptom of the fact that, rather than seeking the true and the good, consensus is sought; rather than listening, one pays attention to the audience. Good communication, instead, does not try to impress the public with a soundbite, with the aim of ridiculing the other person, but pays attention to the reasons of the other person and tries to grasp the complexity of reality.”
“It is sad when, even in the Church, ideological alignments are formed and listening disappears, leaving sterile opposition in its wake.”
The Pope signed the message on Jan. 24, the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers and journalists.
He urged members of the media to develop their listening capacities.
“Communication does not take place if listening has not taken place, and there is no good journalism without the ability to listen,” he said.
“In order to provide solid, balanced, and complete information, it is necessary to listen for a long time. To recount an event or describe an experience in news reporting, it is essential to know how to listen, to be ready to change one’s mind, to modify one’s initial assumptions.”
World Communications Day, established by Pope Paul VI in 1967, will be celebrated this year on Sunday, May 29, the day that some countries will mark the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, transferred from the preceding Thursday.
The theme of this year’s commemoration, the 56th, is “Listen!”