Two papal stories that surely will affect everyone reading this column. Chances are you watch TV for news (local, regional and international) and that you have been on a train some time in your life – perhaps frequently, perhaps as a daily commuter.


Pope Francis addresses journalists and technical staff from Italian RAI Television’s local news channel to mark 40 years of its activity. Regional information, he tells them, communicates “the voice of the people”.

By Vatican News

Pope Francis overturned a frequent cliché in the world of journalism when he told local Italian television journalists, producers and technical staff during an audience in the Vatican that, “local news is no less important than national news”.

The importance of local news
Local news and information, said the Pope, is actually more genuine and authentic because it communicates “the voice of the people”, in all aspects of peoples’ social, cultural and spiritual life. Local information gives space to local realities and cultures, he said, to news that would not be broadcast otherwise. More than ever, said the Pope, we need news to be communicated completely and thoughtfully, “so as to encourage reflection”.

Different kinds of globalization
Pope Francis explained the difference between what he called “harmful globalization and good globalization”. The latter “unites us, and can help us to be members of one another”, he said. Harmful globalization, on the other hand, ”makes everyone the same, rather than valuing diversities, cultures, histories and traditions”.

The sphere and the polyhedron
Here the Pope returned to the image of the sphere and the polyhedron: “in the sphere everything is equal, uniform, each point is equidistant from the centre, there are no differences”, he explained. In the polyhedron “there is coherence but there is also diversity, a variety of positions”.

The importance of regional information
The polyhedron, said the Pope, best reflects the nature and variety of regional news. “Regional information comes from the territory with a very precise mission, which is expressed in two directions”, continued Pope Francis. “The first is to immerse itself in the everyday, in local reality, made up of people, events, projects, problems and hopes”.

The second, he said, is to transmit that reality to a wider audience. It also means giving “voice to poverty, challenges, and local emergencies”, as well as to “testimonies of faith”.

Telling the stories
Pope Francis concluded by encouraging television journalists and staff to continue telling the stories, and making known “those authentic realities that are still found in many corners of Italy: realities that do not give in to indifference, that do not remain silent in the face of injustice, that do not follow fashions. There is a “submerged ocean of goodness”, said the Pope, “that deserves to be known”.


Pope Francis on 14 September received in audience in the Vatican, some 400 managers and employees of the Italian State Railways.
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

Pope Francis on Monday encouraged the Italian State Railways to be even more attractive and sustainable in a show of greater solidarity. He made the exhortation to some 400 managers and employees of the Italian holding group led by their CEO and Managing Director, Gianfranco Battisti. According to the Pope, trains are a fundamental means of transport and connection, and also provide an incentive for economic and social development of the nation.

The Pope explained that the railways need to be appealing in order to attract investment, improve quality, encourage trade and generate new businesses. The railways need to be beautiful and attractive, so people feel welcomed, at ease and want to come back to use their services.

Rail transport, the Pope noted, is also becoming increasingly sustainable because it is economical for the business world and for individual citizens, and it also respects the territory it passes through and the communities it involves.

Regarding environmental sustainability, the Pope appreciated the railways’ efforts in ensuring its impact is very minimal and that carbon dioxide emissions, which are very harmful to the ecosystem and its equilibrium, are reduced to a minimum. He commended the State Railways for making precise structural choices in this regard, making the train a vehicle with very low carbon footprint as compared to the car or the airplane.

Speaking about the near future, the Pope wished that the railways grow more in solidarity, favouring families and those in need because of old age, physical limitations or low income. The railways should also be more supportive in making their services and their quality available to various parts of Italy and on different types of trains.

The railway network, he said, is responsible for connecting and keeping alive the different areas of Italy, even the most remote, and like veins and capillaries should bring life to the members farthest from the heart, ensuring no centre is excluded, marginalized and impoverished.

The Pope also thought of those who travel in trains regarded as “secondary”, saying they should not be made to face the struggle against overcrowding or the difficult environmental conditions of carriages every day.

Equality and non-discrimination
The Holy Father commended the commitment of the Italian State Railways to the principles of equality and non-discrimination, ensuring its services don’t discriminate between the fortunate and those who cannot afford a more dignified and comfortable journey.

The Pope also recalled several responsibilities of the Italian State Railways managers, such as overseeing the employees, safety at the workplace, handling tender contracts, environmental sustainability and contributing to the economic and social development of the nation.