Pontiff Encourages Vatican Presence on Net

Television Center Marks 25 Years

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says he wants the life of the Church, and particularly of the Holy See, to be present in audio, text and video on the Internet.



This was the advice and encouragement the Pope gave to the directors and staff of the Vatican Television Center today, when he received them in audience together with their families to mark the 25th anniversary of the center's founding.

"Today, 'convergence' between the various means of communication is rightly spoken of," he said. "The borders between one and another disappear and synergy increases. The instruments of social communication at the service of the Holy See naturally experience this development as well, and they have to integrate themselves consciously and actively."

The Holy Father recognized that there has always been close collaboration between Vatican Television and Vatican Radio and "it has grown, since in transmissions, image cannot be separated from sound."

In fact, both the television and radio services, as well as the Vatican press office, currently have the same director: Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi.

Still, the Pontiff said, the "Internet today calls for an even greater integration of written, audio and visual communication, and raises the challenge of increasing and intensifying the methods of collaboration between means of communication that are at the service of the Holy See."

In this context, Benedict XVI emphasized the importance of a "positive relationship" with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, marked by initiatives and fruitful developments.

Behind the scenes

During Father Lombardi's address to the Pope for the occasion, the Jesuit explained that Vatican Television "is a small reality, but with a great mission."

The center, he clarified, is not "a television station with its own programming, but a production center that records the images of the activity of the Holy Father and makes them available to television [stations] about the world, either directly or pre-recorded, depending on the situation."

In this way, Father Lombardi said, when an image of the Pope in the Vatican appears on screens in so many houses, "almost in every case, we are at the origin [of these images], even though this is hardly ever mentioned."

Each year, the Vatican Television Center directly transmits some 230 events and archives about 2,000 hours of recordings.

Father Lombardi thanked the Pontiff for his willingness to be the subject of so much film: "Our eye is not indiscreet," he assured. "The image that we spread wants to always be at the coherent service of your message, to respond to the expectations of countless people who want to hear you and see you move, [see] the paternal, intense and gentlemanly expression of your face, as you pray and as you address us. People who ask to be confirmed in their faith, motivated in their journey."