Rocco Palmo writes about two extraordinary (extraordinarily encouraging) audiences that Pope Francis has been giving recently in the lead up to the Vatican’s 50th World Communications Day. One meeting was with Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt, and the other with Apple’s Tim Cook.

Last year I shared some of my thoughts on Laudauto Si, Pope Francis’s second encyclical. What Palmo points out is that it makes sense for Francis to be engaging the heads of multinationals in a world where they have as much or frequently more ability to shape the economics, culture, and human life than many heads of state. This is all within the context of the “Year of Mercy,” which Catholics are celebrating through November:

Some feel that a vision of society rooted in mercy is hopelessly idealistic or excessively indulgent. But let us try and recall our first experience of relationships, within our families. Our parents loved us and valued us for who we are more than for our abilities and achievements. Parents naturally want the best for their children, but that love is never dependent on their meeting certain conditions. The family home is one place where we are always welcome (cf. Lk 15:11-32). I would like to encourage everyone to see society not as a forum where strangers compete and try to come out on top, but above all as a home or a family, where the door is always open and where everyone feels welcome.

Communication, wherever and however it takes place, has opened up broader horizons for many people. This is a gift of God which involves a great responsibility. I like to refer to this power of communication as “closeness”. The encounter between communication and mercy will be fruitful to the degree that it generates a closeness which cares, comforts, heals, accompanies and celebrates. In a broken, fragmented and polarized world, to communicate with mercy means to help create a healthy, free and fraternal closeness between the children of God and all our brothers and sisters in the one human family.