Vatican Radio, broadcasting in 33 different languages, reflects the way in which the Papacy uses modern technology to keep in contact with Catholic populations around the world.
Vatican Radio, broadcasting in 33 different languages, reflects the way in which the Papacy uses modern technology to keep in contact with Catholic populations around the world. The station's programmes Director, Father Pasquale Borgomeo says that although its not possible to mount a world-wide audience poll, they are certain their programmes reach an audience of millions.
SYNOPSIS: The Jesuit-run station first went on the air with an message from Pope Pius X1 in 1931, on equipment supplied by the radio pioneer, Guglielmo Marconi. Now the station puts out 470 weekly programmes, ranging from papal speeches and blessings to regular pop music sessions. As the official voice of the Vatican, the station follows guidelines set by church policy and teaching.
One of the most popular programmes is called "The Four Vices" -- a general news, weather and currency magazine, which is transmitted in Italian, English Spanish and French. It began four years ago and is directed tot he may pilgrims who come to Rome. The main transmitting centre is now in a modern complex 11 miles (18 kms) north of Rome, in an area 10 times the size of the Vatican City itself. A spokesman for the station said the broad-casters tended to concentrate more on catholic populations in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, but programmes wee also beamed to Africa, Norther and South America, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East.
The Vatican post office, which issued one of the earliest postage stamps in 1851, gets most of its revenue from tourists and stamp collectors. It prints about five new issues commemorating Papal and religious events each year, and recently it set up a subscription service for collectors around the world. The post office which has a permanent staff of only 51, handles up to 2 million letters and 6 million postcards each year.
One of the staff explained the secret of their success -- they clear the sorting room every day. "When Italy has a postal strike," he said "our business booms."