History of International Newspapers: L'Osservatore Romano in Vatican City Part 2

About the International newspaper L'Osservatore Romano published in Vatican City, history and information.


The Present. L'Osservatore Romano is ultraserious, a source of insight into Vatican thinking, and is read by people all over the world. It has influence far beyond its meager circulation. Leading churchmen and political figures read it.

Though it prints general news, its emphasis is on religious matters. What its official position with the Vatican is, no one really knows for sure. It has been called "the Vatican newspaper," "the Pope's own paper," and "the papal sword." Ignazio Weiss, an Italian journalism historian, says that it is "official" in anything it reports about the Vatican, unofficial in everything else. But the Pope is the owner, and chances are that the staff won't defy him.

The paper still carries long stories about religious ceremonies and the texts of papal speeches. It provides moral criticism of television and movies. It "regards news through the perspective of history rather than in terms of deadlines."

In 1961, John XXIII said about the paper, "We have little in comparison with other big papers, but what we have is good. . . . Our news perhaps is too dignified, too polished, too quiet; readers are not thrilled. It is a serious newspaper. . . . The emphasis is on editorials rather than on news. It doesn't want to give news, but it wants to create thought. It is not enough for it to relate events; it wants to comment on events. . . . In this paper the journal list is an interpreter, a teacher, a guide. . . . The paper appeals more to specialized people--and not to the mass of the readers. No other paper can see more, can tell more, or can give a better orientation towards educating people to truth and charity. It is the 'paper of the Pope.'"

Scoops. In the 1930s, L'Osservatore Romano--the only Italian newspaper free of fascist control--condemned the invasion of Finland and said it was a sign of Russia's desire to expand her territory.

It warned Italy about the seriousness of the German troops' crossing into Poland before declaring war.

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