Pope’s Communications Day message: ‘Listening is essential for dialogue’

After focusing last year on seeing reality and conveying it to others, Pope Francis in his 2022 Message for the World Communications Day emphasized the quality of listening, which he said “is decisive in the grammar of communication and is a condition for genuine dialogue.”

The Pope noted that people are quickly losing the ability to listen to one another, while at the same time listening is undergoing new developments, especially due to new forms of communicating. These trends demonstrate that “listening is still essential in human communication.”

Human beings are called in turn to “tune in, to be willing to listen,” as God calls them to a covenant of love. Fundamentally, the Pope said, “listening is a dimension of love.”

In many relationships, however, true communication is lacking, as dialogues end up as competing monologues, where the two sides refuse to listen to one another. This is evident nowadays even in public life, the Pope said, where people often end up “talking past” one another.

Pope Francis insisted, however, that “listening is the first indispensable ingredient of dialogue and good communication.”

There is also “a great need to listen to and hear one another” in the Church, the Pope said, adding, “Freely giving of our own time to listen to people is the first act of charity.”

He pointed to the ongoing synodal process, asking for prayers “that it will be a great opportunity to listen to one another.”

Comparing communion in the Church to a choir, the Pope said “unity does not require uniformity, monotony, but the plurality and variety of voices, polyphony.”

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He continued, “At the same time, each voice in the choir sings while listening to the other voices, and in relation to the harmony of the whole.”

The Holy Father concluded, “With the awareness that we participate in a communion that precedes and includes us, we can rediscover a symphonic Church, in which each person is able to sing with his or her own voice, welcoming the voices of others as a gift to manifest the harmony of the whole that the Holy Spirit composes.”

 

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