Rome (Italy). On 29 May 2022, Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, the 56th World Social Communications Day (GMCS) is celebrated. The theme of Pope Francis’ message is:

Listening with the ear of the heart

In the Message, Pope Francis explores the dimension of listening as an “indispensable ingredient of dialogue and good communication.” The ability to listen, to welcome, to give space to the other, makes us similar to God who reveals Himself by communicating gratuitously and involves the whole person.

In particular, listening “with the heart” enables one to be in tune with the other, to listen in depth, especially social uneasiness. The Pope defines it as a “very precious ability in this time wounded by the long pandemic” and invites us not to stop at prejudices, looking at others as problems to be solved, but rather as “faces and stories of concrete people, gazes, expectations, sufferings of men and women to listen to”.

In view of the World Social Communications Day, there are several initiatives each year aimed at investigating issues relating to the culture of communication.

From 21 to 29 May 2022, in the Diocese of Rieti in Italy, the Festival and the Communications Week, were held, promoted by the Society of Saint Paul and the Daughters of Saint Paul, a week of testimonies and round tables with biblical scholars, theologians, journalists, and communication experts who offered reflections and insights on the theme of the Message.

“From listening to oneself to listening to the other” is the title of the discourse by Fr. Fabio Pasqualetti, Salesian of Don Bosco, Professor of Theories and Research of Communication at the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) in Rome.

To the question: “Is it possible to implement processes to arrive at a society that knows how to listen to the other?” Fr. Fabio replies by speaking of a society which, despite having all the potential and technologies to listen to the other, only listens to itself, because it is inserted in a cultural and economic model that does not allow us to do otherwise. “We sell everything and consume everything, even ties, friendships.”

For this reason, “Each of us is very focused on the self and the other becomes the object of my desire, depending on what I want to achieve”.

According to Pasqualetti, the ability to overcome this approach implies a change of paradigm, not only economic, but cultural, to put the person first again, with a communication not so much aimed at “letting the other know who you are,” as “To grasp the other in their essence, in their reality”.

“Listening is more than just hearing, it is identifying oneself, it is welcoming the other as they are”.

From the Pope’s Message, Fr. Fabio takes up the virtue of patience, together with the ability to be surprised by the Truth, which resides precisely in the encounter with the other. “In the person we are listening to, we grasp this relationship that makes us true. Only amazement allows knowledge”.

Video of the intervention


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