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The Pope’s voice turns 80 and is still going strong

Rome, winter 1931. It was 12 February and just two years after the Reconciliation. Since 1925, well before the establishment of the State, Pius xi had had in mind the project of a wireless broadcasting station and gave the green light for it on 11 June 1929, only four days after the Lateran Pacts had come into force.

In that February 80 years ago, in the heart of the Vatican Gardens, the Pope inaugurated his radio, set up by the great scientist Guglielmo Marconi, who introduced him: “The Roman Pontiff has made the words of his divine Magisterium heard in the world for about 20 centuries; but this is the first time — the inventor emphasized proudly and with emotion — that his voice can be heard live simultaneously on all the earth’s surfaces”. And Pope Pius xi began speaking at 4:49 p.m. Rome time, reading a Latin speech which he himself had written.

An epic was beginning which brought the Pope’s voice to every corner of the world: during the upheaval of the Second World War, in the years of the silent persecution of the Church, in the season of the Second Vatican Council.

Today the Radio continues its mission, alongside the other media of the Holy See. It aims first and foremost to feed the flame of faith wherever it needs nurturing. With friendship at the service of every human person.




St. Peter’s Square

Feb. 20, 2020