Follows the unabridged message of Pope Francis (our translation).
Dear friends of SIR news Agency,
I am pleased to join you with this short message on the occasion of an important anniversary for your news agency. These days – October 25 –recurs the thirtieth anniversary of your first news bulletin that initiated SIR journalistic activity. This is an important year for all of you, and for this, I congratulate you and I send you a special token for the professional activity you carry out every day.
Thirty years are an important accomplishment, but they are not a finishing line. Continue carrying out your commitment always seeking the newness that inspired the vision of the founding fathers, concretized with a unique project: an instrument of information that connects Italian territories, represented by diocesan weeklies, with each other and their Dioceses with news bulletins released by the same dioceses. You were the initiators of a communion of information, both inside the Church and in the social-cultural realms. Continue your work!
SIR – the news agency of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, incorporates the needs of various communities. With your daily newscasts, you report on the Holy See, on the Italian Church, on the dioceses, on Europe, on the Middle East, on the whole world …. As you know, I have chosen the following theme for the 53rd World Communications, that will be celebrated in 2019: “We are members one of another» (Eph 4,25). From network community to human communities.’ I am aware that in turn you are committed in the promotion of an information community based on authenticity and reciprocity.
Throughout the years you have followed technological developments whilst preserving your editorial line, so well-expressed in 1988 by your dear departed President Msgr. Giuseppe Cacciami: «We hope that that our agency will be judged for its commitment to the truth and to impartial language, for documenting the facts, for its dedication to the causes and implications of religious events rather than for their instrumental, clever and ephemeral use to satisfy transient curiosity». This commitment is still valid today: let it suffice to recall the phenomenon of ‘fake news.’ Continue to practice your profession always tending towards the truth. This is the most effective antidote to falsehood. And remember that ‘to discern the truth, we need to discern everything that encourages communion and promotes goodness from whatever instead tends to isolate, divide, and oppose.’ (Cf Message for the 52nd World Communications Day).
Thirty years is a long time, but now is the time to think of the future. I encourage you to continue following the path of innovation, without ever shifting your gaze away from world territories: Italian, European, Middle-Eastern, international… A territory is more than a geographic boundary: it indicates the existence of those who inhabit it. In the wake of the diocesan weeklies, be the voice of those who have no voice. Continue to put the media spotlight on all the peripheries. Show your communicative commitment in the stories you report on. Be ever more passionate about the truth. Be the protectors of the news. In today’s world, the work of journalists is ‘in every sense, not just a job; it is a mission. Amid feeding frenzies and the mad rush for a scoop, they must remember that the heart of information is not the speed with which it is reported or its audience impact, but persons. Informing others means forming others; it means being in touch with people’s lives.’(Cf: Message for the 52nd World Communications Day)
Dear friends, as I accompany you to take on your work, I wish you to be always open to listen and to engage in honest dialogue for the emergence of the truth. I encourage you to focus increasingly on the fullness of quality information that can build bridges of understanding and dialogue. Continue along the beautiful and challenging path of thought as you have done until now, without ever making compromises. Remain free and distant from reductionist models; help people understand the facts in all their complexity and deepest meaning.
I bless you with all my heart and please, don’t forget to pray for me.