Communicating in the style of Pope Francis

14 April 2016

On Friday 8 April the Holy See published the Apostolic Exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" (AL), "The joy of love: love in the family". The document written by Pope is surprising for its beauty and style of communication.

Pope Francis’s language, from the beginning of his pontificate, has been characterized by being simple and full of popular expressions. No one doubts that with Pope Francis a familiar and direct style was introduced in the Holy See, and this has universal repercussions.

In the preface to the book "The vocabulary of Pope Francis", edited by the Salesian journalist Antonio Carriero, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, says this of the Pope’s new style of communication: "Francis’s only true strategy of communication is confident and serene adherence to the Gospel." The Pope’s way of speaking is a humble speech capable of being understood by all. "In his speech," the Cardinal added, “there is ‘the ability to communicate high content’, ‘making use of a vocabulary and of images that draw their strength from their closeness to daily life" and thus putting the reader or listener, whoever they may be’, on the same level and not at a distance."

For many Catholics the Pope's communication style is a complete novelty, because they were used to a way of teaching in the Church which usually involved a difficult, sophisticated language and often complicated concepts. In his speeches, the Pope follows the style of the preaching of Jesus, full of images and examples of everyday life, which are read according to the gaze of God.

The Pope's style reminds us of the way in which Don Bosco used to communicate, trying to make himself understood by all, especially by the ordinary people. His communication always started from a profound respect for the other person and his situation, and he was careful to adapt his language to ensure that the other understood his message.

Another feature common to both is that before speaking they have learned to listen to the other person and so are able to establish a connection that can build new bridges of understanding across differences.

Finally, in Pope Francis’s way of communicating, we can see his ability to listen, not just with the ears but with the heart. He is not afraid to show when he feels touched or challenged by the situation he is facing.

Technology allows us to access thousands of messages in different formats and media, but when we meet someone with the ability to communicate with transparency and truth, instinctively we lower our defences and fears. Pope Francis accomplishes this with people. Everybody feels welcomed in some way, and this is the result of his empathic and friendly style of communication.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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