Saint Francis de Sales, a Wonderful Example for Journalists

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If there was ever a time when we needed to invoke a Princess Leia distress message, as she did when she reached out to Obi Won Kenobi in a Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, it would be now, in today’s world of journalism. Instead of a hologram message recorded through R2D2, we would be seeking the intercessory prayers of Saint Francis de Sales, the Patron Saint of Journalists.

The general lack of integrity in journalism these days is making me tired. I can’t remember a time in my life when “fake news” was so rampant in our culture. There have been times when journalists made false accusations or maybe they didn’t check their sources well enough, but today it seems that journalists don’t check sources and deliberately write things that are false and incorrect. It also seems that those who do write like this receive a badge of honor and are lifted up on the shoulders of others who have done the same thing or those who support this flimsily form of journalism.

If my words aren’t enough, just look at the lack of human dignity towards the Covington students who were completely trashed by so called journalists this past weekend. Many have backtracked their stories, but they wouldn’t have had to do this if they were objective journalists who researched all the facts before putting out their story.

Now, before I swallow this red pill completely and dive deeper into this soap box of a rabbit hole (for another day), let’s focus on an important patron saint: Francis de Sales. A Doctor of the Church, St. Francis de Sales became the Bishop of Geneva in 1602. When engaging the Calvinists and trying to convert them to Catholicism, he used flyers and books, hence the seed of his patronage, which also includes Catholic writers, the press, the deaf, and adult education. His greatest work is still considered one of the spiritual masterpieces – Introduction to the Devout Life.  

Below are the 5 quotes that I think will speak to us and to live in the culture we do today:

“Let us force ourselves to be affectionate, gentle, and humble in our intercourse with all, especially those whom God has given us as our companions, such, for instance, as those of our household.”

“Aspire to God with short but frequent outpourings of the heart; admire His bounty, invoke his aide; cast yourself in spirit at the foot of the cross; adore His goodness; treat with Him of your salvation; give Him your whole soul a thousand times in the day.”

“Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same Everlasting Father, who takes care of you today, will take care of you tomorrow. He will either shield you from suffering, or give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”   

“A strong, resolute soul can live in the world without being infected by any of its moods, find sweet springs of piety amid its salty waves, and fly through flames of earthly lusts without burning the wings of its holy desires for a devout life.”

“You can win more converts with a spoonful of honey than with a barrelful of vinegar.”

I encourage you to focus on one of these five quotes, asking this doctor of the devout life to intercede for you.  And, in our Princess Leia moment with R2D2, offer up a prayer for journalism and the press today: to bring a sense of decorum, integrity, and common sense back to journalism and the press in general. Help us to combat so many of the false writings we see today and how to answer them with charity.

Help me O Lord Jesus Christ, you’re my only hope.

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