Pope to families: Put down the devices, learn to talk again
Pope Francis, left, talks with Pio Vito Pinto, deacon of the Vatican tribunal, Roman Rota, during an audience on the occasion of the opening of the judicial year at the Vatican, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. (AP / L'Osservatore Romano)
The Associated Press
Published Friday, January 23, 2015 7:48AM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 23, 2015 1:03PM EST
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis is urging families to put aside their iPhones and Twitter feeds and learn to talk to one another again.
In his annual message for the church's World Day of Communications, released Friday, Francis says media can both help or hinder family communication -- helping far-flung members stay in touch but also enabling others to avoid one another.
"The great challenge facing us today is to learn once again how to talk to one another, not simply how to generate and consume information," Francis said.
The theme of this year's message coincides with Francis' two-year focus on families, which will culminate in October with a big meeting of bishops to hash out better ways to minister to families living with divorce, de-facto unions, gay children and other issues.
Francis said children first learn to communicate in the family, figuring out how to get along with people of different ages and experience "who did not choose one another yet are so important to one another."
As a result, he said, families are the model for all communications since it is in the family where children first learn to forgive.
"A child who has learned in the family to listen to others, to speak respectfully and to express his or her view without negating that of others, will be a force for dialogue and reconciliation in society," he said in the message.
"A perfect family does not exist," he added. "We should not be fearful of imperfections, weaknesses or even conflict, but rather learn how to deal with them constructively."