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VATICAN, April 25, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Vatican Information Service recounts the audience of Pope Benedict with the media:

In the first audience of his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI welcomed several thousand members of the print and electronic media this morning in the Paul VI Hall and thanked them for their arduous work in recent weeks in covering the “important ecclesial events” that have taken place in Rome and “for the service you have given in these days to the Holy See and the Catholic Church.” Greeted by enthusiastic applause, he spoke to the journalists, photographers and cameramen in Italian, English, French and German.

“One can say,” said the Holy Father, “that, thanks to your work, for many weeks the world’s attention was fixed on the basilica, on St. Peter’s Square and on the Apostolic Palace, where my predecessor, the unforgettable Pope John Paul II, serenely ended his earthly existence and where, in following days, in the Sistine Chapel, the Lord cardinals elected me as his successor.”

“Thanks to all of you, these historically important ecclesial events have had worldwide coverage. I know how hard you have worked, far away from your homes and families, for long hours and in sometimes difficult conditions. I am aware of the skill and dedication with which you have accomplished your demanding task. In my own name, and especially on behalf of Catholics living far from Rome, who were able to participate in these stirring moments for our faith as they were taking place, I thank you for all you have done. The possibilities opened up for us by modern means of social communication are indeed marvellous and extraordinary!”

Benedict XVI noted that Vatican Council II dedicated its first document, “Inter mirifica,” to the means of social communication, indicating the Church’s awareness of the importance of the media and her desire to have a dialogue with it. “Without any doubt, John Paul II was the great artisan of this open and sincere dialogue, as he had, in the more than 26 years of his pontificate, constant and fruitful relations with you who are engaged in social communications.”

Stating, “I wish to pursue this fruitful dialogue,” the Pope pointed out that John Paul II even dedicated one of his last documents to the media, “Rapid Progress” of January 24, 2005.

The Holy Father then provoked laughter and applause when he said, off-the-cuff, that he wished to address those present “in my native language.”

“Because the instruments of social communication can render a positive service to the common good, there is need for a responsible contribution by individuals and by everyone as a whole,” said Benedict XVI in German. “We cannot fail to underscore the need for clear references to the ethical responsibility of those who work in this sector, especially with regard to the sincere search for truth and the safeguarding of the centrality and the dignity of the person.”

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