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Vatican weekly gets a facelift

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Newspaper's 'fundamental content' stays the same
By Hannah Brockhaus

Photo: Giovanni Maria Vian, director of the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper, holds a copy of the revamped Italian edition of its weekly newspaper Jan. 10. (Paul Haring / CNS)

On the 69th anniversary of its first publication, the Vatican weekly L’Osservatore Romano is getting a makeover in both content and appearance.

The changes are intended to merge new with old and keep the newspaper’s fundamental characteristic as an “echo of papal teaching,” Director Giovanni Maria Vian told journalists at the Jan. 10 unveiling of the new and improved weekly edition.

Starting with the Jan. 19 issue, new voices  — both secular and Catholic  — will be added to four sections of the paper: Vatican information, international news, religious news, and culture.

Representatives of different Christian denominations and non-Christian religions will also contribute articles, and a new Sunday Gospel meditation will be added.

Some content of the weekly edition will be taken from the daily editions of that week, and graphics will be updated.

What won’t change, says the director, is the newspaper’s “fundamental” content — full papal texts, overviews of the Pope’s activities, etc.

The paper will also keep its “fraternity of the tongue,” committed “not to wound anyone and to have good relations with all,” said Vian.

L’Osservatore Romano  — “The Roman Observer” in English  —  was launched in 1861 to defend the Papal States against Italian political radical Giuseppe Garibaldi in his bid to subsume the Pope’s territories into a newly unified Italy. The paper’s ownership was independent of the Church up until 1885 when the Vatican acquired it during the reign of Pope Leo XIII.

The main, daily edition of the newspaper is in Italian.

In 1968, a weekly English edition was started and there are now weekly editions in German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Malayalam, a language spoken in India. The publication also has a monthly edition in Polish.


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