In Fratelli Tutti Pope Francis wrote, quoting his 2016 World Day of Peace Address that:

Communicators also have a responsibility for education and formation, especially nowadays, when the means of information and communication are so widespread. Their duty is first and foremost to serve the truth, and not particular interests.

Fratelli Tutti 114

By "Communicators" is he talking about journalists? The media in general or is it broader to mean communication platforms such as Facebook and Twitter? I was reading through Fratelli Tutti and that word "Communicators" struck me as odd, the link back to the Holy Father's other declaration showed me he was talking about the media, but given the context of Fratelli Tutti I'm thinking he's talking about something different.

So in general, when Pope Francis uses the vague term "Communicators" which may not be so vague in Italian, who is he talking about?

  • YouTube 'influencers' ?
    – Nigel J
    Oct 12, 2020 at 16:46
  • Is there any reason to think it doesn't just mean "those who communicate"? Obviously those whose communications might be received by children. Nov 12, 2020 at 22:06

1 Answer 1


Who are “Communicators” according to Pope Francis?

The communicators that Pope Francis is referring to are parents and teachers of children. It is so explained in the whole 114th paragraph of his encyclical letter Fratelli Tutti::

The value of solidarity

  1. I would like especially to mention solidarity, which, “as a moral virtue and social attitude born of personal conversion, calls for commitment on the part of those responsible for education and formation. I think first of families, called to a primary and vital mission of education. Families are the first place where the values of love and fraternity, togetherness and sharing, concern and care for others are lived out and handed on. They are also the privileged milieu for transmitting the faith, beginning with those first simple gestures of devotion which mothers teach their children. Teachers, who have the challenging task of training children and youth in schools or other settings, should be conscious that their responsibility extends also to the moral, spiritual and social aspects of life. The values of freedom, mutual respect and solidarity can be handed on from a tender age… Communicators also have a responsibility for education and formation, especially nowadays, when the means of information and communication are so widespread”.

Traditionally, teachers and parents have always been held as the primary communicators of divine truths to Catholic children!

However the text in Italian is somewhat more general as well as more encompassing in what Pope Francis sees as to whom these commentators seem to mean.

In lieu of the English word of commentators the text uses the phrase: Anche gli operatori culturali e dei mezzi di comunicazione sociale.

This implies that those in change of social media and those making use of social media are to ”commentators that are meant in the definition of Pope Francis in the original text of his encyclical letter Fratelli Tutti.

Here follows the Italian full text:

Il valore della solidarietà

  1. Desidero mettere in risalto la solidarietà, che «come virtù morale e atteggiamento sociale, frutto della conversione personale, esige un impegno da parte di una molteplicità di soggetti, che hanno responsabilità di carattere educativo e formativo. Il mio primo pensiero va alle famiglie, chiamate a una missione educativa primaria e imprescindibile. Esse costituiscono il primo luogo in cui si vivono e si trasmettono i valori dell’amore e della fraternità, della convivenza e della condivisione, dell’attenzione e della cura dell’altro. Esse sono anche l’ambito privilegiato per la trasmissione della fede, cominciando da quei primi semplici gesti di devozione che le madri insegnano ai figli. Per quanto riguarda gli educatori e i formatori che, nella scuola o nei diversi centri di aggregazione infantile e giovanile, hanno l’impegnativo compito di educare i bambini e i giovani, sono chiamati ad essere consapevoli che la loro responsabilità riguarda le dimensioni morale, spirituale e sociale della persona. I valori della libertà, del rispetto reciproco e della solidarietà possono essere trasmessi fin dalla più tenera età. […] Anche gli operatori culturali e dei mezzi di comunicazione sociale hanno responsabilità nel campo dell’educazione e della formazione, specialmente nelle società contemporanee, in cui l’accesso a strumenti di informazione e di comunicazione è sempre più diffuso. “
  • I honestly don't think so; otherwise, all other non-English translations got the message wrong.
    – user46876
    Oct 12, 2020 at 23:37
  • 1
    yeah I don't think so either. I mean, this is a good thought, but the citation refers to media specifically
    – Peter Turner
    Oct 13, 2020 at 0:57
  • Well, @PeterTurner, you can always answer your own question? Lol.
    – Ken Graham
    Oct 13, 2020 at 1:05
  • 1
    Is that Italian for Social Media? "mezzi di comunicazione sociale"
    – Peter Turner
    Oct 13, 2020 at 1:14
  • The headline of this answer says he means parents and teachers, but the body says he includes social media commentators. I downvote for this confusion, but would upvote if edits are made. Jul 2, 2023 at 22:22

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