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· The book: “Singolarissimo giornale. I 150 anni dell’  ‘Osservatore Romano’ ” ·

On Thursday afternoon, 2 December, the book: Singolarissimo giornale. I 150 anni dell’ “Osservatore Romano” (Umberto Allemandi & Co., Turin, 2010, 285 pages, € 30) was presented at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See in Palazzo Borromeo, Rome. The book, whose title means “A most unusual newspaper. The 150th anniversary of L'Osservatore Romano , is edited by the Italian Ambassador to the Holy See, H.E. Mr Antonio Zanardi Landi, and by our  Editor-in-Chief, Professor Giovanni Maria Vian.

In the presence of President Giorgio Napolitano of the Italian Republic, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, greeted those present on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI and of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State. Other speakers were: H.E. Mr Gianni Letta, Undersecretary of the Italian Cabinet, Ambassador Boris Biancheri, President of the Institute for International Political Studies and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

The book’s 12 essays present several aspects of the history of our daily that will be celebrating its 150th anniversary next  1 July.

A most unusual newspaper: this is how, in 1961, Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, described L’Osservatore Romano in a famous article, written for its centenary, highlighting the difficulties of the Holy See’s daily newspaper.

“But at a closer look, these difficulties still exist”, wrote the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan who had been editor of the Vatican paper from 1937-1954, “it is these very difficulties that give the function of the periodical press so much dignity, authority and power.

“I myself experienced this in the sorrowful and dramatic period of the last War when the Italian Press was gagged by a ruthless censure and imbued with fabricated material.

L’Osservatore then played a marvellous role, not because it had arrogated to itself new and profitable tasks but rather because it continued undaunted in its office of providing honest and free information. It was like what happens when all the lights in a room are switched off and only one is left on: everyone's gaze is directed to the one left on; and fortunately this was the light of the Vatican, the calm bright light fed by the apostolic light of Peter. L’Osservatore , then appeared what essentially it has always been: a guiding beacon”.

PRINTED EDITION

 

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