The truth will set you free
DATELINE: San Francisco, California—The 52nd World Communications Day is celebrated by the Universal Church every Feast of the Ascension. Pope Francis’ message this year is very timely. Entitled “The truth will set you free. Fake news and journalism for peace,” the Holy Father stated that “the capacity to twist the truth is symptomatic of our condition, both as individuals and communities. On the other hand, when we are faithful to God’s plan, communication becomes an effective expression of our responsible search for truth and our pursuit of goodness.”
Pope Francis disapproves fake news which he defined as the spreading of false information based on non-existent or distorted data meant to deceive and manipulate the reader. Spreading fake news can serve to advance specific goals, influence political decisions, and serve economic interests. Fake news is a sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes, and leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred; it is rooted in the thirst for power. He suggested that to prevent the spread of fake news, it is the responsibility of journalist to communicate the truth.
Pope Francis quoted from the Bible “The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). People who lie to themselves and listen to their own lie come to such a pass that they cannot distinguish the truth within them, or around them, and so lose all respect for themselves and for others. And having no respect, they cease to love, and in order to occupy and distract themselves without love they give way to passions and to coarse pleasures, and sink to bestiality in their vices, all from continual lying to others and to themselves.”
According to Pope Francis, the most radical antidote to the virus of falsehood is purification by the truth. If responsibility is the answer to the spread of fake news, then a weighty responsibility rests on the shoulders of those who provide information, namely, journalists, the protectors of news. Theirs is not just a job; it is a mission. He invites everyone to promote a journalism of peace, a journalism that is truthful and opposed to falsehoods, rhetorical slogans, and sensational headlines. A journalism created by people for people, one that is at the service of all.
On this year’s Mother’s Day, I pay tribute to all mothers in the world, especially to my mother Gloria Angeles-Santiago and to all mothers in the world. My brothers and sisters are very blessed to have our mother until she reached 97 years old. She was still strong, even our former bishop could not believe she was strong at that age. She got bedridden when she had mild stroke; she passed on 4 months before she turned 98.
To all children and grandchildren, make your mothers and grandmothers happy. Shower her with your love and care, to the point of spoiling her. Take her to interesting places, so that she will not get bored in the house. Whenever your schedule permits, call her daily, visit her every now and then. In her old age, she needs somebody to talk to; listen to her stories, for you may never hear her story again. Have you told her that you love her? It is not yet too late to do so. We have only one Mother and we must always make her happy. God bless all Mothers.
Another mother who ought to be given tribute is our Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, whose 101st Anniversary of Her Apparition we celebrate this year. The Blessed Mother has a very special place in the life of every Filipinos due to our close family ties. We always pray for the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for us so that her son Jesus Christ will give us divine assistance and divine guidance in our daily lives.
Happy Birthday to my sister-in-law Jinky Santiago, wife of my brother Dr. Andres Santiago and mother of my nephew and niece Rome and Ella Santiago.