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“Be Vigilant”: Pope Offers Encouragement for Radio and TV Broadcasters

“I remind you that your profession, in addition to being informative, is formative; it is a public service, that is, a service for the common good, a service for truth, for goodness, and for beauty.”

–Pope Francis
addressing broadcasters from
Italy’s national radio station, RAI
on January 18, 2014


In 2014, Italy’s national radio station, RAI, is marking its 90th anniversary in radio and its 60th anniversary in television. 

For the double anniversary, directors and staff of RAI were welcomed in a special papal audience this morning in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall. 

Pope Francis reminded broadcasters of their responsibility to maintain high ethical standards and to produce media that promotes human growth.  The pope expressed his appreciation for decades of thoughtful programming, noting that through RAI radio and television, Italians have always been able to access the words and images of the Pope and to follow Church events including the Second Vatican Council, papal elections, papal visits in Italy, the Jubilee Year, and the funeral of John Paul II.

Vatican Radio offered a full report:

The Pope said the keyword he wanted to highlight on the occasion of these two anniversaries is “collaboration”, in particular the decades-long collaboration between the RAI and the Vatican’s radio and television broadcasters.

The Pope also acknowledged the broadcaster’s various religious productions over the years and its role in documenting change in Italian society and in unifying Italy both linguistically and culturally.

“Recalling such a rich history of accomplishments also calls us to a renewed sense of responsibility,” he said. “I remind you that your profession, in addition to being informative, is formative; it is a public service, that is, a service for the common good, a service for truth, for goodness, and for beauty.”

The broadcaster “produces culture and education, offers information and entertainment, which at every time of day, reaches a large number of Italians.”
“It is a responsibility to which, he who is owner of a public service, cannot abdicate for any reason,” he said. “Ethical communication is, in the final analysis, the fruit of an attentive conscience—not one that is superficial—that is always respectful of people, both those about whom the information is given and of the receivers of the message. Each person (in broadcasting) in their respective role and responsibility, is called to be vigilant in order to maintain high ethical standards of communication, and to avoid those things that create much harm: misinformation, defamation and slander.”

He urged the broadcasters to “work well” and to invest trust and hope in their work, so as to communicate these values in their broadcasts. “There is so much need (for trust and hope),” he said.

He also expressed the hope that, “pursuing with determination and perseverance their objectives”, broadcasters “will know how to be at the service of human, cultural and civil growth of society.”

He concluded by wishing participants and their families a good New Year.


Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general for Vatican City, celebrated mass for the attendees prior to the audience.

“Be Vigilant”: Pope Offers Encouragement for Radio and TV Broadcasters

“I remind you that your profession, in addition to being informative, is formative; it is a public service, that is, a service for the common good, a service for truth, for goodness, and for beauty.”

–Pope Francis
addressing broadcasters from
Italy’s national radio station, RAI
on January 18, 2014


In 2014, Italy’s national radio station, RAI, is marking its 90th anniversary in radio and its 60th anniversary in television. 

For the double anniversary, directors and staff of RAI were welcomed in a special papal audience this morning in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall. 

Pope Francis reminded broadcasters of their responsibility to maintain high ethical standards and to produce media that promotes human growth.  The pope expressed his appreciation for decades of thoughtful programming, noting that through RAI radio and television, Italians have always been able to access the words and images of the Pope and to follow Church events including the Second Vatican Council, papal elections, papal visits in Italy, the Jubilee Year, and the funeral of John Paul II.

Vatican Radio offered a full report:

The Pope said the keyword he wanted to highlight on the occasion of these two anniversaries is “collaboration”, in particular the decades-long collaboration between the RAI and the Vatican’s radio and television broadcasters.

The Pope also acknowledged the broadcaster’s various religious productions over the years and its role in documenting change in Italian society and in unifying Italy both linguistically and culturally.

“Recalling such a rich history of accomplishments also calls us to a renewed sense of responsibility,” he said. “I remind you that your profession, in addition to being informative, is formative; it is a public service, that is, a service for the common good, a service for truth, for goodness, and for beauty.”

The broadcaster “produces culture and education, offers information and entertainment, which at every time of day, reaches a large number of Italians.”
“It is a responsibility to which, he who is owner of a public service, cannot abdicate for any reason,” he said. “Ethical communication is, in the final analysis, the fruit of an attentive conscience—not one that is superficial—that is always respectful of people, both those about whom the information is given and of the receivers of the message. Each person (in broadcasting) in their respective role and responsibility, is called to be vigilant in order to maintain high ethical standards of communication, and to avoid those things that create much harm: misinformation, defamation and slander.”

He urged the broadcasters to “work well” and to invest trust and hope in their work, so as to communicate these values in their broadcasts. “There is so much need (for trust and hope),” he said.

He also expressed the hope that, “pursuing with determination and perseverance their objectives”, broadcasters “will know how to be at the service of human, cultural and civil growth of society.”

He concluded by wishing participants and their families a good New Year.


Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general for Vatican City, celebrated mass for the attendees prior to the audience.

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" for January 17

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on January 17

4:00 – Direct to My Desk – Various Topics

5:00 – How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids: A Practical Guide for Keeping Your Kids Catholic
Gary Michuta has long worked in the field of apologetics and evangelism. A few years ago, he gathered his experiences and ideas into a series of talks titled “How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids.” Catholic parents around the country were extremely enthusiastic about the talks. Parents frequently approached him after his talks and encouraged him to put the information into book form because their own experiences so closely mirrored what he said. Some of these parents would proceed to share their own heart-breaking stories when their child had been pulled out of the Church. These discussions with parents spurred him to act and the result is the book How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids: A Practical Guide for Keeping Your Kids Catholic.Gary joins us to discuss it and answer your questions.

“Just Married” and Loving It! (Plus, Other Great Resources No Couple Should Be Without!)

Dear Dr. Popcak,  I just wanted to tell you (and your wife) THANK YOU for writing “Just Married.”  My married friends and I are always complaining to each other about the absolute dearth of material for faithful Catholics wanting to date, prepare for marriage, and live marriage in an authentically Catholic way. Basically, we hear two messages: [Read More...]

Bishop Zurek: Concerns About Priests For Life Have Been "Favorably Addressed"

By Kathy Schiffer

Fr. Frank Pavone at the U.S. Supreme Court

In 2011 Bishop Patrick Zurek, bishop of the Diocese of Amarillo, sent a letter to all the bishops of the United States, advising them that he had so many concerns about Priests For Life’s $10 million budget that the organization’s national director, Fr. Frank Pavone, shouldn’t be trusted with donors’ money.

For a full year, while an investigation was pending, Father Pavone was restricted to working from a small cell in a Texas convent.  He was unable to continue his travel and speaking schedule on behalf of the unborn.  The high-profile case was sent to the Vatican for review.

Bishop Zurek

Finally, in December 2013, Bishop Zurek sent a letter to the bishops of the United States, informing them that all the concerns he had addressed with regard to the Staten Island-based Priests For Life (PFL) “have been favorably received and addressed by the Congregation for Clergy.”

Bishop Zurek is quoted in the Long Island Catholic:

“My concerns included some restructuring of PFL so that it would have juridic personality and become a true ecclesial association. Also included was a request for more adequate and transparent reporting of finances to the competent ecclesiastical authority. Both of these requests have been favorably addressed by the Congregation of Clergy.”

A year ago, in November 2012, the Congregation for Clergy had ruled that since the principal office of Priests For Life is in the Archdiocese of New York, the Archbishop of New York is the competent authority to exercise vigilance over the association.
“I am happy that this process is at an end,” Bishop Zurek wrote in his most recent letter, “and I hope and pray that Father Pavone and PFL may now continue its important work in the defense of all human life, especially that of the unborn.”

USCCB Responds to Obama Administration’s Brash Power Grab in Utah

By Kathy Schiffer


Attorney General Eric Holder


From the Administration that won’t take “No” for an answer: 

Last Friday Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. intervened in the legal battle over gay marriage in Utah.

Although Utah officials will not recognize legal unions which occurred in the state, Holder announced that the federal government will grant full status to homosexual marriages in Utah.  Acknowledging a recent Supreme Court step which “cast doubt” on same-sex marriages performed in Utah, Holder went rogue:  announcing that those couples would still be eligible for all federal benefits accorded to married spouses.

Conservatives have cried foul, calling the move an unconstitutional override of states’ rights.  The National Review called Holder’s action “lawless.”  Utah Policy asked, “Is Holder off the reservation?”

Even the left-leaning Slate magazine asked, “Is Eric Holder making this up as he goes along?” 

Archbishop Cordileone



Today Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco and Chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, joined the conversation.  Archbishop Cordileone addressed Attorney General Holder’s decision in a blog on the USCCB website.



Archbishop Cordileone’s statement is below:



Last week Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government will recognize so-called “marriages” performed in Utah between persons of the same sex that even Utah itself does not recognize as marriage. Presently, Utah defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. On December 20, 2013, a federal district judge struck down that definition, but on January 6 of this year, the United States Supreme Court stayed that decision while the case is on appeal.

However, Attorney General Holder is ignoring Utah law and imposing a contrary federal definition of marriage in that state. In this, General Holder’s decision is actually contrary to the Supreme Court’s decision last year in United States v. Windsor. Windsor unfortunately struck down a uniform federal definition of marriage, but it made clear that the federal government is to respect a state’s definition of marriage. In particular, the Court said that the federal government is to defer to “state sovereign choices about who may be married” and furthermore criticized federal actions – like General Holder’s – that “put a thumb on the scales and influence a state’s decision as to how to shape its own marriage laws.”

The Utah Attorney General, who (unlike General Holder) is responsible for enforcing Utah law, has declared that the validity of any same-sex “marriages” performed in Utah between December 20 and January 6 “will depend on the result of the appeal process.”

In other words, out of respect for the legal process, Utah will wait for the federal courts to decide. But not the Attorney General of the United States, who has already ruled that same-sex “marriages” performed between December 20 and January 6 are valid for purposes of federal law. If the federal government is legally obliged to defer to the marriage law of the state, as Windsor itself holds, then how can the federal government recognize as valid – even if only for federal purposes – marriages which a state has not deemed valid? This logically opens the door for the federal government to recognize any type of relationship (and with any number of partners) as valid marriages in contradiction to state law.

Events over these past several months (the most recent being the January 14 decision by a federal court in Oklahoma ruling that state’s marriage amendment unconstitutional) have made it clearer than ever that the marriage debate we are having in this country is not about access to the right of marriage, but the very meaning of marriage: what it is, and what it is for.

I encourage all those who know and believe the timeless truth about marriage, as well as all those who believe in following the established judicial procedures to address such issues, to not remain silent, but to exercise their constitutional rights as citizens of this great nation and to stand up for the truth.

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – January 16, 2014

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on January 16

4:00 – Kresta Comments – Supreme Court Argument Recap: Abortion Buffer Zones? Maybe Yes But How Big?

4:20 – Defending Life In A Post-Christian World
Suppose that you have just five minutes to graciously defend your pro-life beliefs with friends or classmates.  Can you do it with rational arguments?  What should you say? And how can you simplify the abortion issue for those who think it’s hopelessly complex? Scott Klusendorf, President, Life Training Institute, is here to explain how to succeed in three easy steps.

5:00 – “Gimme Shelter:” A Film Based on the Life and Work of Kathy DiFiore – She Joins Us
Based on a true story that centers on 16-year-old Agnes “Apple” Bailey, the film “Gimme Shelter” uncovers her struggle for survival and the hope of redemption through the harsh realities of life on the streets. As a pregnant teenager, Apple’s journey plummets her into a perilous struggle as she seeks to break the shackles of her past and to embrace the future with clarity, maturity and hope – not only for herself but her unborn child as well. We talk to Kathy DiFiore, the woman whose work the film is based on.

5:40 – Kresta Comments – Supreme Court Argument Recap: Abortion Buffer Zones? Maybe Yes But How Big?

Reforming the Annulment Process–A Continuning Conversation. (Or Why “Alienation of Affection” is a stupid reason to require divorce before annulment).

I appreciated the many thoughtful responses to my brainstorming on ways to improve the annulment process.  Regarding my first suggestion; stopping the practice of requiring the couple to seek a civil divorce before filing for a declaration of nullity, a few people suggested that this needed to be in place because of the fear that [Read More...]

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – January 15, 2014

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on January 15, 2014

4:00 – Kresta Comments

4:20 – Integrity Restored: Fighting Porn In Our Culture – And Winning
If you, or someone you love, are struggling with pornography use, this is an interview you need to hear. Dr. Peter Kleponis and his ministry Integrity Restored was designed to help men, their wives and their families break free from the bonds of porn. We will talk about pornography use and addiction, as well as pornography’s effects on people’s lives.  Moreover, you will find out how to get help!  The good news is that freedom is possible.  This site will show you the way! Peter joins us.

5:00 – Mackerel Snappers: How to explain even the toughest teachings about God and his Catholic Church
Where is Purgatory in the Bible? Why does the Catholic Church oppose in-vitro fertilization? Catholics were once labeled “mackerel snappers” because of their regular consumption of fish on Fridays. Abstinence from meat is just one of many often misunderstood Catholic teachings. Rather than shy from that old derogatory nickname, Spencer Allen claims it as a badge of pride as it explains and defends the teachings of God’s one, true Church. Spencer is here to offer systematic explanations invaluable in their own defense and practice of the faith.

5:40 –Exposing the Lie: Marriage and Manipulating the Media
Many of you have probably seen the headline “Marriage Not An Antidote to Poverty” which has been all over the news.  As you might have guessed, there is more to the story.  The truth is, the “study” is actually a position paper that presents no new data and, in fact, supports a foundational assertion of the marriage movement’s campaign against poverty; namely, that to be effective as an anti-poverty initiative, marriage must come before baby. Dr. Greg Popcak joins us to discuss the facts behind this latest PR campaign against marriage.

Reforming the Annulment Process–Brainstorming Solutions.

Deacon Greg Kandra links an article that encourages overhauling the annulment process.   I think most people would agree that the annulment process is in need of serious improvement.  In fact, one of the factors influencing Pope Francis’ call for an Extraordinary Synod on the Family next November was his concern about the way the Church [Read More...]

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