World Communications Day, May 13th, coincides beautifully with the Gospel proclaimed for the Solemnity celebrated by the Church on that same date, namely, the Ascension of the Lord. In the mass of that Sunday, we heard this command given by Jesus to his disciples just prior to his return to the Father: “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). This good news is all that Jesus has revealed to us concerning the truth of both God and human nature. In Jesus, we come to know that: God is love; that He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a perfect communion of love; that God has created us for Himself and has sent His Son to save us and His Holy Spirit to draw us to Himself through Christ. From this revelation, we come also to know that we are God’s beloved children, created in His image and likeness; that we are radically dependent upon God for all things; that God has given us both a dignity and a destiny; that His commandments are given that we might know how to live in accord with our nature; and that He bestows upon us grace and mercy to enable us to do so.
This is good news because it is true. We can rely upon it as worthy of our full trust.
Sadly, there abounds other “news” that is entirely undeserving of our trust. It is that news we call “fake”. In his message for this year’s World Communications Day, Pope Francis draws our attention to this “fake news” and warns us against it. By “fake news” he is referring to the manipulation of means of communication so as to mislead people in the pursuit of a particular self-centered agenda. Whereas the communication of what is true, beautiful and good aims to unite people and fashion true community, the spread of falsehood separates people from one another and thus sows discord.
The Holy Father points out that, while we may think of this as a recent phenomenon, it is, in fact, nothing new. Humanity has had to grapple with the spread of the lie ever since the original “fake news” told to Adam and Eve by the devil. This renders the spread of the Gospel – the communication of truth – perennially urgent.
That urgency was underscored last week by the March for Life that occurred in cities across Canada. The thousands who march in this annual event are committed to communicating the truth of human dignity at each stage and in every circumstance of existence, especially since lies continue to be spread, such as the fiction that the child in the womb is not a person and the error that there is a right in Canada to abortion. These falsehoods are “fake news” that is lethal in its consequences. Let’s continue to counter them by speaking the truth in love (cf. Ephesians 4:15), and by prayer that those who have surrendered to the “fake news”, the lies used to justify abortion, will soon yield to the “good news”, the truth of the wondrous beauty and inalienable dignity of every human life.