(Vatican Radio) If you listen carefully to what Pope Francis has been telling us about communicating, there’s much more to it than just conveying facts, figures or opinions; he says it’s about sharing, listening, closeness, acceptance and truth.
Again and again, he asks journalists, writers, reporters, bloggers and all those who communicate through social media to put their abilities and gifts at the service of the common good in a perspective of true encounter and exchange.
Alessandro Gisotti, a veteran journalist at Vatican Radio and a member of the Secretariat of Communications’ project for Vatican social media, has taken Pope Francis’ advice to heart and compiled a ‘guide’ book for all those, professionals and non, who want to get the message across.
Linda Bordoni talked to him about his recently published “Decalogue of the good communicator according to Pope Francis”…
Alessandro Gisotti says the aim of the book is to provide a guide and to help the reader find good paths of communication “centered in the dignity of the human person”.
He points out that a good communicator, as Pope Francis has mentioned many times, is someone who “builds bridges between persons and communities without exclusion, ‘because the essence of real communication is love’”.
Cardinal Luis Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis – a great communicator himself – has written the preface for Gisotti’s book, praising the initiative and inviting readers to ‘use’ it to reflect on how God’s word and love can guide us as we communicate with others.
And this is exactly what Gisotti has chosen to do, dividing the book into 10 chapters, each of them containing a ‘commandment’ and a quote with practical and concrete examples to help us on our way…
“The Ten Commandments are directly inspired by Pope Francis, by his words, his gestures and also by his silence” he says.
Saying that each reader can choose his favorite rule (or Commandment), Gisotti says that the one closest to his own heart is number Seven: “the easiest to say, the most difficult to apply: listen and then communicate”.
The importance of listening he says is often underlined by Pope Francis who says one listens with one’s heart, not only with one’s ears, and this is what makes the difference.
The book is interspersed not only with quotes by the Pope but with many literary and practical references. Gisotti quotes Shakespeare, Alessandro Manzoni and Borges, but also figures from the daily news like Pietro Maso in prison for having murdered his own family for money and who has received a telephone call from Bergoglio; and Vinicio, a poor man with a disfiguring disease, who was embraced by the Pope with great naturalness – a powerful gesture of love and acceptance which changed the way most of us had viewed him up until that moment.
Gisotti describes that embrace as an iconic moment, almost a symbol of Pope Francis’ pontificate:
“In his first message for World Communications Day Francis wrote that the power of communications is closeness. I think that through this embrace with a man with a disfiguring disease the Pope has shown us how closeness can give dignity back to people and start a new dynamic of mercy and reconciliation” he says.
Chapter Nine is particularly interesting as it deals with issues dealing with the need for true encounter and exchange in the digital world…
Gisotti says that for Pope Francis communication must be at the service of an authentic culture of encounter and this of course applies to the digital world as well.
“The Pope has affirmed that the internet is not a network of wires; it’s a network of people, and therefore the internet can help us be better citizens” he says.
So, Gisotti concludes, it is up to us to be a true presence of mercy in the social network, committed to building a society of fraternal relations within our “one human family”.
“I hope, he says, that this little book can give a real contribution” helping us to become a real presence of mercy, also in the social network.”