World Communications Day

The Church, realizing "that she is truly and intimately linked with mankind and its history".(1) wishes by means of this initiative [the First World Communications Day], proposed by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, to draw the attention of her children and of all men of good will to the vast and complex phenomenon of the modern means of social communication, such as the press, motion pictures, radio and television, which form one of the most characteristic notes of modern civilization.

(1) Constitutio Pastoralis de Ecclesia in mindo huius temporis prooemium.
Quoted from the First World Communications Day Message given by Pope Paul VI in 1967


On 30 January 1948, by Letter Protocol No. 153.561 from the Secretariat of State of His Holiness Pope Pius XII, the Pontifical Commission for the Study and Ecclesiastical Evaluation of Films on Religious or Moral Subjects was established; at the same time Bishop Martin John O'Connor was nominated President and the following persons were designated as Members: Rev. Mons. Maurizio Raffa, representing the Sacred Congregation of the Council; Rev. Mons. Ferdinando Prosperi, representative of the Office Catholique International du Cinématographe and provisional Secretary of the new Commission; Mr Giacomo Ibert and Architect Ildo Avetta.

On 17 September 1948 the Holy Father approved the statutes of this new Office of the Roman Curia, which was renamed the Pontifical Commission for Educational and Religious Films.

One would have needed to be a clairvoyant to foresee the remarkable future of this minute Office, composed of a President and four Members and housed in a single room in the Palazzo San Carlo in Vatican City, in a wing still overflowing with the Information Office's vast archives on the Second World War. In spite of its modest beginnings, this small Commission was to write a new page in the history of the Church's pastoral and cultural activity.

We have a right to the truth because,
without the truth, we cannot be at peace
in this life, nor reach our heavenly
destiny in the life to come. But others
also have a right to the truth, and this
places a heavy obligation on us to share
the truth that we possess. I would go so
far as to say that the most fundamental
duty we have in life is to love others
by giving them what others have given to
us, namely, a knowledge of the truth.

Our Right to the Truth by John A. Hardon, S.J.


World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican Council ("Inter Mirifica", 1963), is marked in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost (in 2006, May 28).

The announcement of the theme is customarily made on September 29, the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel, who has been designated as the patron of those who work in radio.

The Holy Father's message for World Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers (January 24), to allow bishops' conferences, diocesan offices and communications organizations sufficient time to prepare audiovisual and other materials for national and local celebrations.

Messages of the Holy Father for the World Communications Day

Pope Paul VI
11967 Church and Social Communication: First World Communication Day
21968 Social Communications and the Development of Nations
31969 Social Communications and the Family
41970 Social Communications and Youth
51971 The role of Communications Media in promoting unity among men
61972 The Media of Social Communications at the Service of Truth
71973 The Mass Media and the Affirmation and Promotion of Spiritual Values
81974 Social Communications and Evangelization in Today's World
91975 The Mass Media and Reconciliation
101976 Social Communications and the Fundamental Rights and Duties of Man
111977 Advertising in the Mass Media: Benefits, Dangers, Responsibilities
121978 The receiver in Social Communications: his expectations, his rights and his duties
Pope John Paul II
131979 Social Communications: Protecting the Child and promoting his best interest in the family and in society
141980 Social Communications and Family
151981 Social Communications and Responsible Human Freedom
161982 Social Communications and the Problems of the Elderly
171983 Social Communications and the Promotion of Peace
181984 Social Communication: Instruments of Encounter Between Faith and Culture
191985 Social Communications for a Christian Promotion of Youth
201986 Social Communications and the Christian Formation of Public Opinion
211987 Social Communications at the Service of Justice and Peace
221988 Social Communications and the Promotion of Solidarity and Fraternity Between People and Nations
231989 Religion in the Mass Media
241990 The christian message in a computer culture
251991 The Communications media and the unity and progress of the human family
261992 The proclamation of Christ's Message in the Communications Media
271993 Videocassettes and audiocassettes in the formation of culture and of conscience
281994 Television and family: guidelines for good viewing
291995 Cinema: communicator of culture and of values
301996 The Media: Modern Forum for Promoting the Role of Women in Society
311997 Communicating Jesus: The Way, the Truth and the Life
321998 Sustained by the Spirit, communicate hope
331999 Mass media: a friendly companion for those in search of the Father
342000 Proclaiming Christ in the Media at the Dawn of the New Millennium
352001 Preach from the housetops: The Gospel in the Age of Global Communication
362002 Internet: A New Forum for Proclaiming the Gospel
372003 The Communications Media at the Service of Authentic Peace in the Light of "Pacem in Terris"
382004 The Media and the family: A Risk and a Richness
392005 The Communications Media: At the Service of Understanding Among Peoples
Pope Benedict XVI
402006 The Media: A Network for Communication, Communion and Cooperation
412007 Children and the Media: A Challenge for Education
422008The Media: At the Crossroads between Self-Promotion and Service. Searching for the Truth in order to Share it with Others.
432009New Technologies, New Relationships, Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship
442010The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World:  New Media at the Service of the Word
452011 Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age
462012Silence and Word:  Path of Evangelization
472013Social Networks: Portals of Truth and Faith; New Paces for Evangelization
Pope Francis
482014Communication at the Service of an Authentic Culture of Encounter
492015Communicating the Family:  A Privileged Place of Encounter with the Gift of Love
502016Communication and Merrcy: A Fruitful Encounter