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Silence Is An Integral Element Of Communication Says Pope
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has affirmed that silence is an integral element of communication, stressing that in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist.

This was contained in his Word Day of Social Communications message for 2012 titled “Silence and word: path of evangelization”.

While harping on the importance of silence, the Pope stated that, “I would like to share with you some reflections concerning an aspect of the human process of communication which, despite its importance, is often over looked and which, at the present time, it would seem especially necessary to recall. It concerns the relationship between silence and word: two aspect of communication which need to be kept in balance, to alternate and to be integrated with one another if authentic dialogue and deep closeness between people are to be achieved.

Continuing, the Holy Father reiterated that when word and silence become mutually exclusive, communication breaks down, either because it gives rise to confusion or because, on the contrary, it creates an atmosphere of coldness; adding that when they complement one another, communication acquires value and meaning. “… in silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves, ideas come to birth and acquires depth …”

The pontiff affirmed that “by remaining silence, we allow the other person to speak, to express his/herself and we avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being adequately tested”. He explained that when space is created for mutual listening, deeper human relationship becomes possible “it is in silence, for example, that we observe the most authentic communication taking place between people who are in love: gestures, facial expressions and body language are signs by which they reveal themselves to each other”.

Further, he pointed out that joy, anxiety and suffering can all be communicated in silence “… silence, then, gives rise to even more active communication, requiring sensitivity and a capacity to listen that often makes manifest the true measure and nature of the relationship involved and added that “when messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary.”

Speaking on the modern process of communication, the Bishop of Rome hinted that “search engines and social networks have become the starting point of communication for many people who are seeking advice, ideas, information and answers” and noted that “the internet is becoming ever more a forum for questions and answers” while reiterated that “… silence is a precious commodity that enables us to exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive. Amid the complexity and diversity of the world of communication, however, many people find themselves confronted with the ultimate questions of human existence …”

More, Pope Benedict asserted that attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God and emphasized that “The God of biblical revelation speak also without words: As the cross of Christ demonstrates, God also speaks by his silence. The silence of God, the experience of the distance of the Almighty Father, is a decisive stage in the earthly journey of the Son of God, the incarnate word …”

The Holy Father also noted that “the eloquence of God's love lived to the point of the supreme gift, speaks in silence of the cross. After Christ's death there is a great silence over the earth …” He stressed that learning to listen and contemplate as well as speaking is important for those who engage in the task of evangelization.

The message further revealed that both silence and word are essential elements, integral to the Church's work of communication for the sake of a renewed proclamation of Christ in today's world.

 

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