Promote family cohesion, harmony, Catholic Bishop charges journalists, media

By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko, Ibadan 

The Bishop, Catholic Diocese Of Oyo, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo has called on journalists and media to promote family cohesion and harmony through their reportage, to enable the family continue to provide the essential service for a better society and world.

Badejo gave the charge on Sunday at the grand finale of the 57th World Day of Social Communications with the theme 'Speaking With The Heart, The Truth In Love (Eph. 4:15)'.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the weeklong event which began on Sunday May, 14, was organised by the Social Communications Commissions, Catholic Diocese Of Oyo.

The Catholic Bishop says the family in Africa is the nursery of all good virtues: truthfulness, charity, courage, compassion, and selflessness. 

The family according to him, is also the formation workshop for our hearts and the first cradle of synodality. 

This he adds is why Oyo Diocese involved many families and schools in the celebration of this week on the importance and role of the family and school in engendering truthful and charitable communication. 

"No generation is lost if it uses the pains of the present to secure its future. Despite numerous challenges of the present, we call on families to do more to create the “synodal” atmosphere where people especially the children and youth are groomed to listen to others more and to see through the eyes of others. 

"It is within the family we begin to learn the language with which to communicate the truth in a non-threatening, charitable and peaceful way and thus help to develop mutual trust and harmony in the larger society," he said.

Badejo remarks that the theme of this year's World Day of Social Communications continues Pope Francis’ series of messages for the past years seeking to take those who engage the world of media and communications into a deeper harmonization of truth, the heart and love. 

"In previous years pope Francis invited us all to “Come, to See and to Listen” more in order to communicate the truth as authentically as possible.

"The theme goes further to draw us to the authentic seat of the truth within man. Seeing can be deceiving and listening might be distorted but the heart is the seat of authenticity. 

"Pope Francis urges us to harmonize communication, one of the most powerful gifts which God gave to humanity, with the truth which liberates and to do so with love. 

"It would be a most powerful gift if we do, for love conquers all and will endure as the greatest of all virtues. Truth from the heart and love are inseparable, for love compels us to be truthful (1Cor 13:13). 

"This kind of communication which seeks to reconcile, to heal, to restore and to bring light is what families, the Church, and the world at large today really needs if we would eliminate the conflict, injustice, violence, and indifference destroying much of humanity today," he said.

According to Badejo, speaking the truth in love will often come at a cost because we must do so to a world of appearances, disinformation, distortions, fake news and even falsehood. 

"It might bring rejection, insults and even persecution but we must be reminded that this is all foreseen. Jesus said: “If the world hates you, you must realise that it hated me before you” (Jn 15:18).

"If speaking the truth in love is so exacting, it is natural to be afraid and anxious at times when the truth portends suffering. We are all familiar with the phrase “truth is bitter” but we all know as well that truth is a liberating force. 

"Therefore, we need help. We cannot achieve the delicate balance of speaking the truth and fostering peace, reconciliation, and unity by ourselves.

"Our Christian duties to speak the truth from the heart will be enhanced if we make the Holy Spirit our constant ally," he said.

He also emphasised that the communications week was set up by the Catholic Church since 1967, to pray and appreciate the journalists and media who go extra mile to discharge their duties despite the danger.

He noted that the country suffered set backs and disunity due to lack of people speaking the truth.

"If we sow the truth from the hearts and charity right from our families, schools, we may save our country from danger.

"May the lord also touch the hearts of those in authority so that they will listen to the truth by the communicators.

"We should help one another to speak the truth in love and from the heart, I pray that this message which is being preached all over the Catholic Church today will make the world a better place," Badejo said.

In his welcome remarks, the Director Of Social Communications Commission, Catholic Diocese Of Oyo, Rev. Fr. John Irekigbe, urged people to not only communicate but to do it in love.

Irekigbe stressed the need for parents to inculcate the culture of communicating in love even in their children right from the early stage.

"We believe that when the family is well nurtured, the society will be better.

"The weeklong programme featured live radio broadcast on the theme, training of students on photo news, among other interesting activities," Irekigbe said.

The highlight of the occasion was family discussion and interactive session among the media and members of the Church. (NAN)

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