It’s not every day that a Pope comes into your office. Not even if the office is that of the Osservatore Romano . To imagine it beforehand, it’s a game of pure fantasy. But today reality exceeded the fantasy for the editorial staff, graphic designers and all of the personnel at the Holy See’s newspaper.
No fanfare, just very simple and linear, like real news that is important, when its headline flashes across your screen throwing everyone in the newsroom into action and altering the daily torpor of the information chain.
Benedict XVI came to visit as a sign of his support and closeness to the paper on the occasion of its 150th anniversary. The Pope arrived perfectly at ease, dispelling the morning fears in the office for the darkening clouds over Rome, which burst into a downpour just before his visit. A sky which almost mocked us, we who work in non-spacious offices and had hoped to at least welcome the Pope at the entrance, aided by the sun which makes everything easier.
But here is the miracle. The Pope knows how to move naturally in the simplicity and sobriety of things. He is a master of the essential, beginning with his prepared speech, an example of brevity and completeness which would be the envy of the best pens in journalism. But also in improvising a word which lights up the mind; the Pope goes beyond the particular occasion to open the horizon, embrace the world, touch the heart. A modern language which is perfectly adapted to global communication.
While Benedict XVI spoke naturally off-the-cuff on the meaning of informing and explained the contribution of the Osservatore Romano in the arena of public opinion, his visit no longer appeared to us to be restricted to just our editorial staff, but became a way of lightly placing the paper on his wavelength. A small newspaper which thinks big, because it is at the service of justice – and therefore of human events – and at the service of hope – and thus open to the Christian sense of life.
The journalistic profession already had an ally in Benedict XVI. Today, as the encounter with the Osservatore Romano showed, those who work in media can count on a unique admirer, able to offer the wisdom necessary to meet the challenges of the times, without remaining prisoner to technique or appearances.
St. Peter’s Square
Nov. 21, 2019
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