How can the media help the family? How can it be served - rather than impoverished – through newspapers and TV shows? How can we appreciate the enormous value that this micro-society has for society as a whole?
These are just some of the questions we believe should accompany those who intend to "communicate the family".
However not everyone who works in the media shares this spirit...
If the family is presented as an idea and not as a reality
"The Media sometimes tends to present the family as if it were an abstract model to accept or reject, to defend or attack, rather than a concrete reality to live," - said Pope Francis, on the occasion of the XLIX World Day of Social Communications, in his message about Communicating the family: The privileged environment where the gratuity of love is found – “or as if it were someone's ideology against someone else’s instead of the place where we all learn what it means to communicate in love that is both shared and given.”
How can this trend be reversed?
Listening to the family, yielding to it, giving it a voice ... instead of laying down our narrow conceptual schemes.
An example of authentic communication on family issues
"Telepace" is a private Italian TV channel, which has existed since 1977, which primarily offers programs that are religious in nature offering content on the Catholic faith, and showing the activities of the pontiff both in the Vatican and during his travels.
In 2015, the channel also began to offer a new program - The Family – designed to give voice to this wonderful and complex reality.
Without censoring the difficulties and frailties that spouses, parents and children face during their challenging journey in life, the program highlights the importance of authentic communication, forgiveness and acceptance.
With the help of guests, the host, Sara Fornari, examines a different theme in every episode, for example from the understanding of wounded families, to the protection of maternity from dangers such as surrogate pregnancy.
The program was re-launched in 2016 with the intent of showing what mission the family is called to play in the Church and the world. It was so successful that it does not seem to have come to an end. In fact, it will start the recordings of new episodes.
"Telepace" therefore offers a valuable contribution to the Italian TV scene: it is put to the service of the family, because controversy is replaced by understanding; conflict, by the search of solutions.
The media has the power to help the family
If we want the family to be the unit of measure of our society, the driving force in different human communities, we must look after it, support it, and communicate it better.
We must remember and remind others how precious the health for this unit is for the maturation of each person.
No one can be disinterested about the welfare of the family: it touches each of us closely, because we all experience it somehow.
And can the media do something for family health?
The answer is yes.
"Telepace" is by no means the only broadcaster to really show how TV, movies, magazines and newspapers can help the family.
Just think of the documentary made in the US by the Evangelical Church, which seeks to rediscover the reality and meaning of the family in today's context: “Irreplaceable”.
Also consider the work of Tv2000 (official television of the Catholic Church in Italy), which does not tire of defending the dignity and vocation of the family in the world.
Obviously, there are many examples we can point to - because there are many voices that strongly support this wonderful and irreplaceable human reality.
And of course, such initiatives encourage us, because they exemplify the true mission of the family in the world: to preserve in love every human being and educate him to the gift of being.
Media can serve the family instead of serving to conduct their ideological battles.