Aide: Vatican Radio an Example of Evangelization

Father Lombardi Urges the Use of Technology to Spread Word of Christ

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 14, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Vatican Radio, which just marked its 80th anniversary, shows how technology can be at the service of peace and evangelization, says its director.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, who also serves as director of the Vatican press office, dedicated the latest edition of Octava Dies to commemorate the anniversary of the radio station, which had its first broadcast on Feb. 12, 1931.

The creation of the broadcasting station was entrusted by Pope Pius XI to Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937), Nobel Prize laureate in physics and father of wireless telecommunications.

Marconi, as Father Lombardi recalled, always said, "My inventions are to save humanity, not to destroy it!"

The priest noted that Vatican Radio is perhaps one of the endeavors that best translated Marconi's ideal, for example, by spreading "the great radio messages of the Popes for peace in the world, tragically tormented by wars or winds of war, as in the times of Pius XI, Pius XII and John XXIII."

The Jesuit noted that Vatican Radio broadcasted hundreds of thousands of messages of prisoners' and refugees' families during World War II. In these years it supported and consoled members of local Churches oppressed by totalitarianisms in various parts of the world.

In eight decades, the broadcasting station has presented "ceaselessly the values of the spirit, the timeliness of the Gospel of Jesus, the building of justice and peace, dialogue between the Christian confessions, between cultures, religions and peoples," he added.

The director observed, "What more beautiful mission could Marconi desire for his invention?"

He continued: "We must continue to use the most novel technology for these objectives. Do we do so sufficiently? Are the inventions of the human genius used to save or to destroy humanity?"

Father Lombardi noted that now, 80 years after its beginning, one of the great projections of Vatican Radio faced to the future is its languages; at present it produces programs in 47 languages.

"This means being able to adapt the 'message' also to cultures and mentalities that are very different from one another," he explained.

The priest affirmed: "I believe we must be in constant dialogue. Perhaps this is precisely the novelty we must address, that is, to enter into the world of social networks and enrich the dimension of the dialogue with our interlocutors."