Worth a thousand words

On the Catholic News Service Web site one can find the full text of every speech or homily Pope Benedict XVI gave during his historic visit to the Holy Land. And there are powerful, inspirational words throughout, such as his proclamation at the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem that the church will work tirelessly “to ensure that hatred will never reign in the hearts of men again.”

But even we who work with words must sometimes acknowledge the truth in the adage that a picture can be worth a thousand of them. That’s why our front page coverage included three key photos from the trip.

And here’s one more, an image that Palestinians in the Aida Refugee Camp will surely remember long after the echoes of the pope’s message fade. In it, Pope Benedict XVI wears a scarf presented to him by those at the camp in the West Bank of Bethlehem. While in his speech the pope did not tackle the explosive issue of the “right of return” — the principle that Palestinian refugees have a right to regain possession of their ancestral homes — his wearing of the “scarf of return” with its many symbols drew some of the loudest cheers of the evening.

We worry a lot about our words. But what pictures are we sending with our body language, our attitudes, our actions? Do they match? Let’s remember sometimes those pictures are what is remembered, and make sure we always reflect Christ in our actions as well as our words. — Thomas J. Dermody, editor-in-chief, The Catholic Post

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