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Body and soul

The following is the address given by Archbishop Filoni, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, which is the text with which the book ends. The following is an integral translation from Italian.

I am grateful for the invitation to speak at this meeting, graced by the presence of the President of the Republic to whom I pay my deep respects. I convey the greeting of the Holy Father Benedict XVI and of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, to you, Mr President, to the distinguished civil and ecclesiastical figures and to all those present. In taking part in this event I would like to stress the importance that the Holy See attributes to L’Osservatore Romano , and, in particular, its interest in the book that is the focus of our attention this evening.

A hundred and fifty years are a span far longer than the earthly life of a human being. They are also a long span for a “most unusual” daily, as our book is entitled – a description that flowed from the extraordinary pen of Pope Montini, Paul VI.

The contents of this book seem to me to identify some of the most significant aspects of the Vatican newspaper, taken from its authors and editors and excellently developed. Indeed, the authors and editors deserve applause and sincere thanks for their effort; an effort, I might say, that is almost maieutic, bringing into the limelight as well as highlighting the comments, like “veining”, which have accompanied important historical events of which the Holy See has been a “most unusual” observer, as well as a participant.

On its title page L’Osservatore Romano describes itself as a “political and religious daily newspaper” [ giornale quotidiano politico religioso ]. To use a human metaphor I could say that it has a “body”: namely its own characteristic editorial appearance. Thus it is always easily recognizable, despite the evolution of graphics and technology over all these years.

It has a “soul” – unicuique suum – non praevalebunt : the unicuique suum highlights the daily routine of events, while that non praevalebunt refers to the truth, to the search for it and to its protection; the non praevalebunt does not signify arrogance but rather an intimate awareness of being against error. And, lastly, this newspaper has a “purpose”, that is, it addresses potential readers who will find in it provision for intellectual knowledge, for the spirit, for the good and for the beautiful.

L’Osservatore Romano is the written voice that accompanies the radiophonic voice of the Holy See and that speaks in a multiplicity of languages, albeit with a weekly rhythm. Over the past 150 years, outstanding and well-known people have edited it and contributed to it: men and women who have worked silently, so that this “body” might come to life, every day.

It is not by chance that there is room in the masthead for the year, the issue number, the date and the place: because what is not identified slips into anonymity, has no life and no history.

This is the face of a quite atypical newspaper, but one which at the age of 150 makes itself clearly heard and says: “Here I am, I am here!”. It is the newspaper of the Pope, of the Holy See and of the Catholic Church; it is Italian, it is universal, a mirror of the world.

Lastly, may I take this favourable opportunity to address a special expression of gratitude and appreciation to Ambassador Antonio Zanardi Landi whose mandate to the Holy See is coming to an end. In addition to the excellent manner in which he has fulfilled his lofty diplomatic service, he has distinguished himself by his noteworthy capacity for initiative in the cultural field, organizing exhibitions (how can we forget “ Il Potere e la Grazia – the Holy Patrons of Europe”, which the Holy Father too did not fail to visit), and promoting publications, including the one we hold in our hands today and the excellent book I viaggi di Benedetto XVI in Italia. Thank you, Mr Ambassador, and every good wish for the future, which, after the Vatican will be taking you to Moscow.




St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 21, 2019