January 30, 2012

VATICAN CITY – Amid the deluge of information and nonstop chatter in today's media, the Church needs to help people find safe havens of silence, Pope Benedict said.

Far from being the enemy of calm and quiet, social media and the Internet can lead people to virtual sanctuaries that offer silent reflection, thoughtful dialogue and true meaning in life, he said.

Even brief posts and viral tweets can carry potent messages when people use those tools for sharing a real part of themselves, he said in his message for the 2012 celebration of World Communications Day.

"In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives," he said.

The theme of this year's World Communications Day – marked May 20 – is Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization. The papal message was released on the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers, Jan. 24.

The pope acknowledged that "silence is often overlooked," but is especially important today.

Silence builds meaning, clarity and creativity, he said. "We are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth." People also have the time to choose how to best express themselves.

Listening to others requires silence, and "we avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being adequately tested," he said.