Journalism, with its immense and direct influence on public opinion, cannot be guided by economic forces, profit and partisan interests alone. Instead, it must be regarded in a certain sense as a “sacred” task, to be carried out with the awareness that the powerful means of communication are entrusted to you for the common good and, in particular, for the good of society’s weakest groups: from children to the poor, from the sick to those who are marginalized or discriminated against.

One cannot write or broadcast only with a view to audience share, to the prejudice of truly educational services. Nor can one make an indiscriminate appeal to the right to information without taking other personal rights into account. No freedom, including freedom of expression, is absolute:  it is limited, in fact, by its duty to respect the dignity and legitimate freedom of others.

Nothing, however fascinating, can be written, produced or broadcast to the detriment of the truth:  I am thinking here not only of the truth of the facts you report, but also of the “truth about man”, of the dignity of the human person in all his dimensions.

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Pope St. John Paul II

Address to the Journalists on their Jubilee

June 4th, 2000

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Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.

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