VATICAN CITY, 27 JAN 2009 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a message to participants in the national congress of the Italian Catholic Press Union (UCSI). The congress, held last week, commemorated the institution's fiftieth anniversary.
"Half a century after the foundation of the UCSI many things have changed", writes the Holy Father. This change has been "more visible in areas ranging from science to technology, from the economy to geopolitics; less perceptible but deeper, and more worrying, in the field of modern culture, in which respect for the dignity of the individual seems to have notably diminished, along with a sense of such values as justice, freedom and solidarity, which are so essential for the survival of a society".
The work of Catholic journalists, says the Pope, "anchored in a heritage of principles that have their roots in the Gospel, ... is even more arduous today. To your characteristic sense of responsibility and spirit of service, you must add an ever great professionalism, and a capacity for dialogue with the 'lay' world in the search for shared values".
After telling the journalists that "you will be listened to more readily when the testimony of your own lives is coherent", the Holy Father assures them that "no small number of your 'lay' colleagues expect from you the silent witness - not only in appearance but in substance - of a life inspired by the values of faith".
Benedict XVI writes of his awareness that they are committed to "an ever more demanding task, one in which spaces for freedom are often under threat, and economic and political interests often take precedence over the spirit of service and the criterion of the common good.
"I encourage you", he adds in conclusion, "not to make compromises in such important values but to have the courage of coherence, even at the cost of personal sacrifice. Serenity of conscience is a priceless quality".
MESS/.../UCSI VIS 20090127 (330)