VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis said that "as things got dangerous" in the conclave voting, he was sitting next to his "great friend," Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes "who comforted me."
When the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio went over the 77 votes needed to become pope, he said, Cardinal Hummes "hugged me, kissed me and said, 'Don't forget the poor.'"
Pope Francis told thousands of journalists March 16 that he took to heart the words of his friend and chose to be called after St. Francis of Assisi, "the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation," the same created world "with which we don't have such a good relationship."
"How I would like a church that is poor and that is for the poor," he told the more than 5,000 media representatives who came from around the world for the conclave and his election.
Pope Francis also said some had suggested jokingly that he, a Jesuit, should have taken the name Clement XV "to get even with Clement XIV, who suppressed the Society of Jesus" in the 1700s.
The pope told the media, "You've really been working, haven't you."
While the church includes a large institution with centuries of history, he said, "the church does not have a political nature, but a spiritual one."
Pope Francis told reporters it was the Holy Spirit who led Pope Benedict XVI to resign, and it was the Holy Spirit who guided the conclave.
The pope acknowledged how difficult it is for many media to cover the church as a spiritual, rather than a political institution, and he offered special thanks "to those who were able to observe and recount these events in the story of the church from the most correct perspective in which they must be read, that of faith."
The church, he said, "is the people of God, the holy people of God, because it is journeying toward an encounter with Jesus Christ."
No one can understand the church without understanding its spiritual purpose, he said.
"Christ is the pastor of the church, but his presence passes through the freedom of human beings," he said. "Among them, one is chosen to serve as his vicar on earth. But Christ is the center, the focal point."
Thanking the reporters again for all their hard work, Pope Francis also asked them to continue trying "to discover the true nature of the church and its journey through the world, with its virtues as well as its sins."
Communications, he said, requires study, preparation and a special attention "to truth, goodness and beauty," which is something the church has in common with journalism.
He ended his talk by telling reporters he hoped they would grow in their knowledge of "the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the reality of the church. I entrust you to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, star of the new evangelization."
After personally greeting dozens of journalists and representatives of the Vatican press office, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Vatican newspaper and Vatican Radio, the pope came back to the microphone.
"I know that many of you are not Catholic or are not believers, so I impart my heartfelt blessing to each of you silently, respecting your consciences, but knowing that each of you is a child of God. May God bless you," he said.
By Cindy Wooden
Brussels/Rome (SIGNIS) - After ten years of service at the head of SIGNIS Services Rome (SSR), the SIGNIS pastoral and technical office in Rome, Fr Bernardo Suate left his office on January 1st, 2013. The new Director of SSR appointed by the SIGNIS Board is Fr Giuseppe Cellucci.
Father Giuseppe Cellucci is an OMI (Oblates of Mary Immaculate) priest born in Atessa, Italy, in 1947. He graduated in social communication at the Pauline Fathers in Rome and also trained at CREC, under the guidance of Fr. Pierre Babin.
From 1985 to 2002 he was Head of the Audiovisual Animation Service at the Pontifical Mission Societies in Italy. In recent years he has followed and supervised the publication and dissemination of audio-visual subsidies at the Diocesan Missionary Offices of the Italian Church. He is also a collaborator for the Italian program of Vatican Radio and, since 2004, editor-in-chief in the Missioni OMI magazine.
He is now the new Director of SIGNIS Services Rome, a SIGNIS service that provides technical assistance and equipment for use in the transmission of evangelical and human values, especially in developing countries. SSR supplies equipment for low-cost access to the Internet via satellite, audiovisual equipment, radio studios, portable radio kits and computers.
Fr Cellucci was appointed by the SIGNIS Board during their meeting in Beirut in November 2012. The Board also paid homage to the work, human qualities and dedication of Fr Bernardo Suate who, after ten years of relentless commitment to "connect people in a concrete way" at the head of SSR, has been appointed Director of the Portuguese service at Vatican Radio. We wish them both well in their new missions.
Vatican City (Vatican Radio) - "The Church Up Close: Covering Catholicism in the Age of Benedict XVI" is the name of a Professional Seminar for Journalists held by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.
The six-day seminar is offered to journalists across the globe every other year, and is taking place this September from Monday 16th at the University headquarters just across the river from Vatican Radio.
Vatican Radio's Linda Bordoni spoke to father John Wauk, a Professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and President of the Organizing Committee of the Seminar.
listen to the interview...
Father Wauk explains that the way journalists cover Vatican stories since the beginning of the Papacy of Benedict XVI is indeed different to how they would have gone about reporting during the age of Pope John Paul II. He explains that during the papacy of the latter a great deal of media coverage was focussed on the personality and on the person of John Paul II. This - he says - "has changed quite a bit and the coverage of "Catholic" stories is not as centered upon the person of Benedict". That's why - he says - we talk about covering Catholicism "in the Age of Benedict" and not "covering the Papacy" or something along those lines.
Fr. Wauk says that having the Seminar in Rome provides a vantage point for aspiring journalists from which to see the whole Church. A convenient place from which to see a bit of everything. And that - he says - is what we try to provide in our Seminar.
As well as giving participants an array of tools to strengthen their coverage including a basic sense of the lay of the land at the Vatican, the Seminar also offers a series of in-depth analyisis of specific hot-button issues confronting the Church today such as inter-religious dialogue, social and bio-ethical topics , sexual morality and so on as well as the nature and structure of the Catholic Church, its organization and its role in international politics.
Thus, the seminar includes meetings with representatives of Vatican organs such as the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the Secretariat of State, the Press Office of the Holy See and so on.
For example Archbishop Fisichella will be talking about the upcoming "Year of Faith" and Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi (a returning guest) will be telling young journalists how the Press Office operates.
The Seminar programme also includes visits to significant historic sites in Rome like the Roman necropolis beneath the Basilica of St. Peter, the Sistine Chapel and the Catacombs.
The Seminar, sponsored by "Our Sunday Visitor" has been so successful in the past years that one of the Professors from Columbia University Journalism School in New New York recently asked the Santa Croce University to organise a class for his students.
To the question "How important is it for the mission of the Church today that Church news be reported in a correct manner? Father Wauk says "It is essential for the Catholic Church to be involved in media of all sorts. We are all familiar with the explosion of media coverage and all the new media, but it means information is very difficult to control. And a lot of information is partial or mixed with error, or out of context. So what we are trying to do do is help journalists to get the story straight. Frequently the errors and misinterpretations that one encounters aren't the product of ill will, but the Catholic Church is a very complicated institution and not easy to grasp at first glance, especially for people who may be unfamiliar with the Church's history. So we are trying to do our part to overcome the difficulties that are so inherent in covering the Catholic Church in today's very rapid media environment".
Vatican City (Vatican Radio) - Conflicts, religions and (non)violence is the theme chosen to weave its way through this year's edition of the Religion Today Film Festival.
At its XVth edition, this festival which carries the subtitle "Exploring the Differences", tackles our particular moment in history which on one side sees widespread spiritual need and awakening, and on the other, a breakdown of trust and dialogue due to international tensions and the "clash" of civilizations in a globalised world.
Simone Semprini is one of the organizers of this festival which boasts the backing of a number of regional and cultural organizations, including that of SIGNIS - the World Catholic Association for Communication.
Semprini chatted to Vatican Radio's Linda Bordoni about the Film Festival that runs from 12th to 24th October with events in various Italian cities and towns.
listen to the interview...
Semprini explains that the festival has been part of the SIGNIS panorama for the past 4 or 5 years and every year the festival hosts a SIGNIS Jury.
He says that each year a different theme is chosen because it helps channel energies and provide a clear focus, but of course, he says, significant movies can be selected to participate even if they are not directly connected to the theme.
This year, he says, "we are trying to merge the two souls of the festival: the religious one and the social one".
Semprini says festival organizers are trying, once again, to put together religion and society; trying to foster a reflection on the role religions can play in international relations and in societies. Especially related to violence issues.
He explains that all the movies chosen to participate are competing for Awards. There is an internationial Jury which assigns the major prizes, and then there are other categories, with specific prizes.
Semprini says the festival foresees a lot of guest events, and this year the organisation is particularly attentive to the influences of other forms of art, such as theatre.
It is an itinerant festival, Semprini points out, in the sense that the Festival was born in the Northern town of Trento where it is located. However during the year there are events that take place in other venues across the Italian peninusula in the effort to spread the Festival's message of Meeting and Dialogue.
Semprini also explains that Italian films make up only about one fifth of the total works in competition. He says most films come from the Middle East and from Eastern Europe. They are all screened in original language and have English sub-titlles and - "when we can afford it" - also Italian subtitles.
For more news and information about the Religion Today Film Festival you can go to the webpage at www.religionfilm.com and to the Religion Today Film Festival facebook page.
Vatican City (Vatican Radio) - The Asian church must evangelise on the digital continent and they can learn how to do this by looking at the advances made in the field by Vatican Radio. This is according to Dr. Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, Chancellor of St. John's University, Bangkok, Thailand and a long-time consultant for Pontifical Council for Social Communications. It is also what he told Asian bishops on Tuesday, the second day of the VIII Congress of the Federations' Bishops' Institute for Social Communications" (BISCOM VIII) which is taking place in the Tahi capital Bangkok. Vatican Radio's Fr. Joseph Paimpalli is in Bangkok following the conference and sends us this report:
"In the digital culture, everyone's opinion is valid, meaning to say that if a question or contradiction is posted, the digital natives expect a response or something resembling a conversation. We can choose not to enter into that cultural mindset, but we do so at great peril to the Church's credibility and approachability in the minds of the natives, those who are growing up in this new culture. This is a new form of pastoral ministry. It may not be the platform we are seeking, but it is an opportunity of such magnitude that we should consider carefully the consequences of disregarding it" , said Dr. Chainarong.
He was addressing the participants of 8th edition of "Bishops' Institute for Social Communication" (BISCOM VIII) today at the Assumption University, in Bangkok, Thailand. The week-long event has the theme "Social Media: Surfing, Networking, Blogging, Gaming, Addiction - Challenges and Opportunities for Communication Ministry in Asia". 45 participants including 14 bishops, archbishops from 12 South Asian countries are participating in the program.
While introducing "Church and Internet: Documents and Teachings on a "New Culture" Dr. Chainarong started with a video presentation of the beginning of Vatican Radio, its present day reach and approach, and how Pope Benedict XVI his first 'tweet'.
He said: "You may also have heard that the Catholic Church was once a pioneering force in communications. Since the time of Jesus Christ, its followers have traveled the globe preaching and converting hundreds upon hundreds, thousands upon thousands to the truths of the Gospel message. Its scholars compiled the Bible and books of learning that continue to exert their influence on the world today. Its members also established systems of schools, colleges, hospitals, and churches. Clearly, the Church has historically mastered the art of social communication."
However, Dr. Chainarong lamented the present day situation of the Church in the field of communication saying "you may observe that today in many parts of the world, including Asia, the Church has fallen short of that reputation. It is lagging behind other organizations in adopting new forms of communication. To be more precise, the Church is lacking in its efforts to utilize new media. Meanwhile, new media and technology has continued to advance, leaving the Church behind. Indeed, the Church today finds herself in the midst of a technological revolution, the biggest communication shift since the advent of the printing press."
He said: it was in Redemptoris Missio that Pope John Paul II described the new communication situation as a 'New Culture.' He demands that the Christian Message has to be integrated "into the 'New Culture' created by modern communications"
Dr. Chainarong said "for the 44th World Communications Day in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI focused on the importance of digital communications, in which priests can discover new possibilities for carrying out their ministry to and for the Word of God. The priests can help men and women of our time using the resources made available by the digital age in which we live.
The Holy Father addressed the need for the pastoral presence of priests in cyberspace. In as much as "All priests have as their primary duty the proclamation of Jesus Christ", they have to respond to the challenge of preaching the gospel amidst the cultural shifts of the present.
Looking back at BISCOM VI, Dr. Chainarong reminded the participants that "the final statement (of BISCOM VI) said that experts from different disciplines urge the bishop participants to look at the opportunities of the new media environment with new eyes: the more we are present in cyberspace, the more we are challenged to extend our 'parish'! The Church should also integrate Information and Communication Technology into its administrative and pastoral work.
It is equally interesting to observe that the final statement notes that the situation of the Church in Asia is far from ideal for the integration of ICTs.
"Except for a few countries, many bishops are working among the poor and marginalized with lack of electricity, poor financial resources and inadequate access or exposure to modern technology. They might not be able yet to fully benefit from the modern means of communication."
However, the Bishops agree in the statement that technology is moving forward relentlessly, bringing down costs and making new communication tools affordable and accessible to increasing numbers of people, especially the young.
Dr. Chainarong concluded his talk on Vatican Radio saying "you may have already heard that since July 1 a new chapter in the history of Vatican Radio has evolved from Short Waves to new communication strategies. Vatican Radio's 40 different language programs can now not only be received via satellite but also available 'live' on five web channels, on demand and in podcast. According to the Director General of Radio Vatican Fr Federico Lombardi, the time has come to reduce its reliance on traditional technologies, like Short and Medium Wave broadcasts, and to develop its resources to more innovative technological criteria".
His thought provoking end comments were: "Most of us are digital immigrants who need lessons on the digital culture, just as we expect missionaries to learn the cultures of the people they are evangelizing. We have to be 'enculturated'. It is more than just learning how to create a Facebook account. It is learning an entirely new way of how to think, live, and evangelize on the Digital Continent."
The aim of BISCOM has been designed to equip bishops of South Asia with necessary skills and knowledge for handling modern media. It also aims to develop a pastoral approach to the emerging media.
The BISCOM 8 is organized by the Office of Social Communications (OSC) of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC).
Vatican City (Vatican Radio) - The official website for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Lebanon has been launched. The Holy Father's trip will be from September 14 to 16, and he will visit Beirut/Harissa, Baabda, Bzommar, Bkerké, and Charfet.
The website is available in four languages – Arabic, English, French, and Italian. It includes the programme of the trip, information on the life and pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, and the story of the Churches in the Middle East.
The website is located at www.lbpapalvisit.com
The organizing committee has also launched channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Vatican Radio will end its short- and medium-wave broadcasts to Europe and North and South America July 1, and a month later the Vatican press office will close the Vatican Information Service, a multilingual daily summary of papal speeches and appointments.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office and of Vatican Radio, announced the changes June 12, saying they were responses to developments in technology and would save the Vatican money.
The changes at Vatican Radio, he said, should save the Vatican "hundreds of thousands" of dollars just in electricity bills each year. But the radio station is not reducing the number of programs or the 40 languages in which the programs are produced.
The decision to stop the short- and medium-wave broadcasts reflect the fact that Europe, North and South America are well covered by local radio stations that re-broadcast Vatican Radio programs and a large portion of their populations have access to radio programs via the internet.
Short- and medium-wave broadcasts to Africa, parts of the Middle East and Asia will continue, he said, because fewer people have access to the Internet there and most of the stations rebroadcasting Vatican Radio programs are located only in big cities.
"Over the course of the 20th century, the international short- and medium-wave transmissions of Vatican Radio were a service of inestimable value in the history of the church -- especially in Europe -- supporting those populations oppressed by war and totalitarianism," Father Lombardi said.
The Jesuit said ending the broadcasts to Europe, North and South America would cut in half the hours of transmission from the Vatican's antenna field at Santa Maria di Galeria outside Rome. He said the decision was motivated strictly by the fact that new technology has made the broadcasts superfluous and had nothing to do with concerns about the potential health dangers posed by electromagnetic emissions from the transmission center.
Residents near Santa Maria di Galeria sued Vatican Radio in the late 1990s, saying the transmissions exceeded levels set under Italian law. In 2005, an Italian court cleared the radio station and, Father Lombardi said, already by August 2001 the antenna field had reduced emissions to below the Italian limit.
The Vatican Information Service, which provides summaries of Vatican news in daily English, French or Spanish emails to 60,000 subscribers, will be replaced by a multilingual summary of the Vatican press office's daily news bulletin, he said.
VIS, which traditionally suspended publication for the month of August, will end operations July 31 and the new multilingual bulletin will debut in September, Father Lombardi said.
Father Lombardi said five members of VIS' seven-member staff will work for the press office, either translating entire papal speeches or at least providing summaries of them in English, French and Spanish. The other two staffers, he said, would join the team producing www.news.va, a Vatican news aggregator, which publishes in English, French, Spanish and Italian.
By Cindy Wooden
Vatican City (Vatican Radio) Announcing Vatican Radio’s intention to reduce its Short and Medium Wave transmissions to most of Europe and the Americas, starting July 1st, the Director General, Fr Federico Lombardi, today spoke of what he called, “A new chapter in the history of Vatican Radio” as it evolves “from Short Waves to new communications strategies”.
Here is the full text of his comments.
“After celebrating its 80th birthday last year, Vatican Radio is ready to open a new chapter in its history by committing its message of service to the Gospel and the Church to new communication technologies.
Vatican Radio’s 40 different language programmes can currently be received via satellite and the internet, and are rebroadcast by around a thousand local radio stations on FM or Medium Wave in over 80 countries around the world.
They are also available live on five web channels, on demand and in podcast, from Vatican Radio’s website at www.vaticanradio.va
Written reports and texts on the website represent 40 languages in 13 different alphabets and provide a wealth of information. Daily RSS feeds and newsletters are sent to subscribers in a variety of languages, including Chinese, Hindi and Tamil, aside from European languages.
Close collaboration between Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Centre has led to the development of on-line video services and an innovative instrument called the “Vatican Player”, which offers sound and images of Papal events, live and on demand, texts and written reports related to those events, and a permanent link to the Pope’s Agenda of public activities. The Vatican Player allows websites all over the world to receive and redistribute images, sound and text concerning the Pope and the Holy See, on a regular basis.
The 24-hour “Vatican Radio Live” channel has a strong audience on FM in the Rome area and on DAB and DAB+ in most of Italy, and encourages ongoing dialogue between life and culture in Italy and the Catholic Church in the country.
Webcasting and satellite transmissions, along with rebroadcasting by local, regional and national radio stations, guarantee the widest possible outreach to Vatican Radio’s programming and services. Which is why Vatican Radio believes the time has come to reduce its reliance on traditional technologies, like Short and Medium Wave broadcasts, and to develop its resources in new directions.
On July 1st, Short and Medium Wave broadcasts from Vatican Radio’s Santa Maria di Galeria Transmission Centre, to most of Europe and the Americas, will be suspended. These areas of the world are already well served by Vatican Radio’s local rebroadcasting partners and by widespread internet access to its services and language programming.
The reduction of Short and Medium Wave broadcasts to these areas accounts for about 50% of the Centre’s transmission time and will allow Vatican Radio to restructure the Centre according to more innovative technological criteria. Short Wave broadcasts will be further reduced over the next few years – but not at the expense of those poor, needy and suffering parts of the world (like Africa, the Middle East and Asia) which have no alternative means of receiving news of the Church and the voice of the Pope.
Over the next few days, Vatican Radio’s language programmes will be informing their listeners of these changes, indicating alternative ways by which traditional Short and Medium Wave users can listen and benefit from Vatican Radio’s services.
Vatican Radio’s international Short and Medium Wave broadcasts have made a priceless contribution to the history of the Church, especially in 20th century Europe where they were a source of strength and encouragement for nations oppressed by war and totalitarian regimes. As this unique service is gradually phased out, making way for new communications technologies, it is important to thank those who dedicated their hearts and minds to it for so long – and for the good of so many.
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II TO THE PARTICIPANTS AT THE 42nd ORDINARY SESSION OF THE EUROPEAN BROADCASTING UNION
Friday, 28 June 1991
1. Je suis heureux de vous souhaiter la bienvenue dans la Salle du Synode, devenue pour la circonstance le siège des travaux de la XLIIème session ordinaire de l’Assemblée générale de l’Union européenne de Radiodiffusion. Et je voudrais d’abord remercier Monsieur Albert Scharf, qui se consacre depuis des années avec dévouement votre Organisation, pour les paroles aimables qu’il m’a adressées en votre nom à tous.
Je salue les membres du Conseil d’Administration, les Présidents des différentes commissions, le Secrétaire général et les responsables des services permanents de l’Union. J’adresse aussi mes salutations aux représentants des Unions sœurs qui font entendre dans votre Assemblée la voix des autres continents du globe. Cette rencontre n’est pas la première qu’il m’ait été donné d’avoir avec l’Union européenne de Radiodiffusion; en 1981, la Commission des programmes radiophoniques a été l’hôte de Radio Vatican et, en 1984, ce fut le cas de la Commission technique.
Mais cette année, pour le LXème anniversaire de la fondation de la «Radio du Pape», l’Union européenne de Radiodiffusion a voulu donner cette commémoration tout son relief par sa présence au plus haut niveau en la Cité du Vatican.
2. L’Église, conformément à sa mission, est particulièrement attentive au destin et à la dignité de la personne humaine. «L’homme ― ai-je écrit dans ma première encyclique ― est la route de l’Église». Cette m me conviction a inspiré la rédaction de l’encyclique récente «Centesimus Annus», dans laquelle j’ai renouvelé la présentation de la doctrine sociale de l’Église la lumière de l’évolution qu’a connue la situation du monde contemporain. De ce point de vue, il est facile de comprendre la sollicitude et l’intérêt avec lesquels l’Église considère l’ensemble des médias qui se sont désormais imposés dans la vie quotidienne, exerçant une influence croissante sur la pensée et le comportement des citoyens.
En s’exprimant sur ce phénomène typiquement moderne, l’Église ne peut taire les questions de nature morale qu’il suscite. Mais on présente parfois dans une perspective unilatérale et incomplète ces rappels des règles morales que, dans ce domaine comme en d’autres, l’Église adresse aux responsables car il s’agit pour elle d’un devoir auquel elle ne peut renoncer. Il arrive ainsi que l’on ne comprenne pas l’esprit dans lequel elle exerce son rôle d’enseignement: en effet, elle agit dans le bien intégral de l’homme. Dans d’autres cas, son avertissement est bien respecté dans l’abstrait, mais il est ensuite relativisé ou vidé de son sens concret parce qu’il ne tiendrait pas compte de la situation des médias et des lois qui régissent leur action.
La vérité est différente: non seulement l’Église n’ignore pas le «pouvoir» qui est entre vos mains, non seulement elle tient compte des responsabilités spécifiques de ceux qui travaillent dans votre secteur, mais elle a conscience aussi des difficultés, des limites, des conditions auxquelles vous êtes soumis. L’Église sait et reconnaît que, dans le domaine des médias, il y a des milieux où les exigences morales ne sont pas prises en considération ou même sont tournées en ridicule, ce qui rend parfois très difficile d’agir en toute fidélité sa conscience.
3. En un temps de grandes transformations culturelles, sociales et politiques, de nouveaux problèmes sont apparus pour les opérateurs du service public de radiodiffusion. Jusqu’à ces dernières années, ce service a été respecté, et en un sens protégé, en raison de la mission qui lui était assignée; à présent, il doit entrer en compétition, sur un terrain qui se transforme rapidement en marché. Mais si, dans le cadre de la compétition économique, l’assouplissement peut être profitable, cela peut devenir dangereux pour une activité comme la communication, si liée à des facteurs éthiques qu’elle ne peut être réduite purement et simplement à la logique du marché.
Dans la situation difficile que connaissent des degrés divers certains de vos pays, les pouvoirs publics sont appelés faire preuve d’une lucidité et d’une énergie exceptionnelles pour conduire la délicate période de transition actuelle. Heureusement, malgré les défauts qui demeurent, il semble que l’on s’oriente aujourd’hui vers la réalisation de systèmes mixtes plus équilibrés où coexistent harmonieusement le service public et les organismes privés, avec une répartition équitable des charges et des ressources, en cherchant avant tout l’intérêt de la communauté.
Cela paraît d’autant plus nécessaire en cette période où, libérés des systèmes totalitaires, les pays d’Europe centrale et orientale, qui s’efforcent de construire une société nouvelle, se tournent vers l’Occident dans l’espoir de trouver non pas des exemples de compétition sauvage, mais des modèles de communication dignes de démocraties avancées.
4. In such a context Vatican Radio continues to operate today, with its own characteristics and specific finality. Built by Guglielmo Marconi and inaugurated by my predecessor Pius XI in 1931, this station operates in the service of the faith, of the unity of the Church, and of peace in the world. Its resources are limited and never sufficient for the mission it is called upon to fulfil. But its very existence and its longstanding presence in the field of international broadcasting bears witness to the Church’s concern to have the means to proclaim, in complete independence, the Gospel, the Good News of salvation.
In spite of its special nature, Vatican Radio belongs to your Union as an active and founding member. It endeavours to collaborate in a professional way with the various member agencies, the various bodies into which the Union is divided, and in particular with the Radio Committee and the Technical Committee. At the same time, I gladly acknowledge that it also receives a great deal from you, in exchanges, assistance and experience in all its fields of activity.
Specifically, I wish to thank all the broadcasting agencies which, in the course of my apostolic journeys, have been helpful to Vatican Radio and have provided technical and professional assistance. I am also grateful to the radio and television stations of so many countries which have carried the message of my pilgrimages to different parts of the world in Christ’s name and in the service of the human family.
5. I wish to encourage you in your daily work. I realize that it is difficult and complex. But I also realize the enormous good that you can do. By upholding a lofty ideal of the human person, you can be extremely effective in building a civilization truly worthy of man.
I express the hope that your Union will go away from this General Assembly with a renewed sense of unity and commitment. Associations such as yours must always be careful not to allow particular interests to overshadow the common good. As a service to truthful information and genuine cultural development, the world of communications should be free from the conditioning of partisan and commercial interests.
Last year, on the fortieth anniversary of the foundation of the European Broadcasting Union, you reaffirmed in the Marino Charter your intention to defend the ethical character of broadcasting’s public service and to commit the European Broadcasting Union to the task of maintaining a spirit of effective solidarity among its member bodies. These goals call for great harmony within your own organization, especially as you are now engaging in a closer cooperation with the organisms active in the field of television. You can imagine with what satisfaction I see the realization in your sector of activity of the cultural unity which responds to Europe’s common roots but which for decades was hindered by artificial barriers.
I also hope that as your organization grows and increases in solidarity you will continue to give your attention to the developing regions outside of Europe as well, where your help can be extremely important.
May the Lord bless your efforts and your aspirations. May he sustain your daily work, protect you and your families, and enable you to build a world that is more just and more worthy of man.
ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II TO THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN BROADCASTING UNION
Friday, 3 April 1981
Monsieur le Président,
Mesdames et Messieurs,
1. JE VEUX TOUT D’ABORD VOUS souhaiter la plus cordiale bienvenue dans cette maison, à vous qui avez entrepris il y a quelques jours, au sein même de la Cité du Vatican, les travaux de la trente-quatrième session ordinaire de la Commission des Programmes de Radio de l’Union Européenne de Radiodiffusion. Vous êtes les hôtes appréciés d’un minuscule Etat, la Cité du Vatican, minime expression territoriale d’une souveraineté dont le but principal est d’assurer la pleine autonomie à l’exercice d’une autorité spirituelle, le Saint-Siège, centre et cœur d’une communauté pacifique de croyants qui ne connaît pas de frontières mais qui les réunit tous dans une même foi. Le Siège Apostolique se place au-delà de toute diversité d’idéologie, mais en même temps il nourrit, comme il l’a toujours fait, un profond respect pour la grande variété des cultures dans lesquelles s’incarne le message évangélique chez les divers peuples, et il est ouvert à toute forme de collaboration fructueuse avec les chrétiens d’autres confessions, avec les croyants d’autres grandes religions et avec tous les hommes de bonne volonté.
Je ne puis relever sans satisfaction une certaine correspondance, sur un plan différent il est vrai, avec les buts de l’Union que vous représentez si dignement ici. Celle-ci, en effet, est une organisation internationale non gouvernementale, ouverte à tous les organismes de radiodiffusion de service public de l’Europe entière et même du bassin méditerranéen, comportant de nombreux membres associés d’autres zones géographiques et ayant des liens étroits avec les Unions régionales créées par la suite dans d’autres parties du monde. Votre association se propose d’assurer à ses membres, tout en respectant pleinement leur autonomie, le réseau le plus vaste possible de services dans le domaine de la technologie la plus avancée, des informations de tous genres et des échanges de programmes. Vous favorisez ainsi le développement des organismes nationaux de radiodiffusion qui trouvent, dans cette ambiance de collaboration internationale, une aide efficace pour leur tâche ardue: celle de répondre aux exigences et aux défis toujours nouveaux imposés à la radiodiffusion par les développements rapides qui se réalisent continuellement à notre époque.
2. L’Eglise catholique regarde avec un vif intérêt, avec respect et sympathie ceux qui travaillent dans le domaine des mass media, tout en se montrant exigeante et soucieuse en ce qu’elle attend d’eux. Le Concile Vatican II a voulu consacrer aux instruments de communication sociale le décret “ Inter Mirifica ”, dont le thème a été ensuite développé par l’Instruction pastorale “ Communio et Progressio ”, rédigée par la Commission pontificale pour les Communications Sociales. Son titre comporte déjà en lui-même une vision confiante de ce qu’on attend des instruments de communication sociale, sans qu’on oublie pour autant les obstacles nombreux et de poids qui s’opposent à la réalisation de ce noble but. Une section de cette Instruction est consacrée spécialement aux transmissions de la radio et de la télévision.
3. But there can be adduced no more expressive proof of the Holy See’s interest in your field of competence than the creation in this tiny State of a Radio Station, almost immediately after the stipulations of the Lateran Treaty, which sanctioned the State’s territorial sovereignty. This was the fruit of the farsightedness of Pius XI, and of the collaboration of Guglielmo Marconi himself, to whom that great Pope had entrusted the direction of the work of setting up Vatican Radio. It is not by mere chance that your meeting, which for the first time has given the Holy See the pleasant opportunity of welcoming to the Vatican a body of the European Broadcasting Union, is being held precisely in the year when Vatican Radio is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of its inauguration, which took place on 12 February 1931. It is equally significant that, by the express wish of Pius XII, Vatican Radio has from the very beginning belonged to the European Broadcasting Union as a founder member.
Vatican Radio of course has a special character: its first and fundamental task is to spread the teaching and the very voice of the Pope, and to contribute to strengthening ecclesial communion. This it does especially through the broadcasting of wide-ranging, regular and timely information, which is specially valuable for local communities that live in precarious conditions of religious freedom and which lack other sources. Also with regard to the international services of other broadcasting bodies, which likewise come within the wide range of your interests though perhaps to a lesser degree, Vatican Radio differs not only by the absence of political or economic interests, however legitimate such may be, but also and above all because it cannot be the expression of a national culture to be spread beyond the boundaries of its own country: no nation and no culture is “foreign” as far as the Holy See is concerned, since it embraces them all in its essential “catholicity”.
4. You exercise functions of high responsibility in broadcasting bodies at the public service. The occasion of this special meeting induces me to tell you of something that deeply concerns me, namely the risk of an ever widening gap between the existence and needs of society and of the human beings that make it up, and the forms in which this reality is presented by the means of social communications. These means wield an enormous power in today’s world, a power that can be easily misused by giving in to the temptation to employ them in order to dominate public opinion and in order to manipulate people’s orientations, scale of values and conduct. May I be permitted to repeat to you what I recently said to the representatives of the mass media in Hiroshima: “This power belongs to the people. Like all created things, it is universal in its destination, and is meant for the good of all. You are, therefore, stewards of the people’s power and servants of their well-being. Yours is indeed a great calling, a splendid mission; but it requires an upright and frequently renewed dedication, and constant accountability to the people. And so I ask you to continue generously to devote efforts to the cause of the people, to the betterment of society, to the promotion of the unity of the entire human family”. In carrying out your delicate responsibilities may you ever have in mind your children, and in this way it will be easier for you to contribute, as far as it depends on you, to the building of a society that is more just, more free and more united a society in which everyone’s children can live lives that are in harmony with the sublime dignity of man, full of meaning and open to hope.
At this time I wish to thank you warmly for the coverage given by your programmes to my apostolic journeys, and in particular for the ready collaboration offered, on the occasion of such journeys, by the broadcasting bodies of all the countries visited.
Finally, dear friends, I ask you to accept my most cordial good wishes for the success of the work of your Commission. I invoke the abundant blessings of God, who is merciful love, upon yourselves, your families, your colleagues, your broadcasting bodies and upon the countries that you represent.
 Ioannis Pauli PP. II Allocutio ad operatores communicationis socialis in urbe «Hiroshima» habita, die 25 febr. 1981: vide supra, pp. 538-539.