The Vatican newspaper must demonstrate how the Catholic Church walks alongside people, but it also must keep the distance necessary to proclaim hope when many people are disappointed and to shake people when they get complacent, said the paper's new director.
Andrea Monda, who was named director of L'Osservatore Romano Dec. 18, published a statement of his vision for the daily paper Dec. 20.
The newspaper, he said, has as its basic mission that of "bringing the voice of the pope and the church to the whole world; seeing and interpreting what happens in the world in the light of the Gospel; and being a primary and transparent source that people can draw on to nourish the search for truth."
Monda said the newspaper must use Jesus as its model, particularly the Jesus portrayed in St. Luke's Gospel, accompanying the disappointed disciples on the road to Emmaus after his death.
"Jesus accompanies them on the road and enters into conversation with the men, giving them a new direction and new energy," he said. But it is interesting how the disciples respond to Jesus' questions, saying to him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?"
The newspaper, he said, "must be close to people, but at the same time must have that distance" that allows it to "understand, judge and influence without getting mixed up in the logic of a reporting that often looks but does not see and interprets without first knowing."
"L'Osservatore Romano must walk alongside each person and, at the same time, maintain that touch of 'being a stranger' so that it can say a strong, surprising and unexpected word" that can break through the routine and "give hope back to a discouraged soul," he wrote.
People look at the world around them, Monda said, and too many of them are "disappointed and in pain."
The Vatican newspaper, he said, wants to be the "voice of the church" that awakens consciences, lets them see the light of Christ and moves them to love.