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Who really cares what the Church thinks?

· The complex relationship between the Vatican and the international media ·

We are publishing the integral text of the introduction written by our Editor-in-Chief to a book, edited by him, Il filo interrotto. Le difficili relazioni tra il Vaticano e la stampa internazionale [The broken wire: difficult relations between the Vatican and global media] (Milan, Mondadori, 2012, 145 pages, euro 17,50). This volume pulls together pieces from the day of study that L'Osservatore Romano organized in the Vatican on 10 November 2011 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of its foundation.

The book – writes Giovanni Maria Vian – confronts, for the first time ever, "the complicated and difficult relationship between the Catholic Church and the media. With a title, Incomprensioni , [misunderstandings], it is certainly precise but at first glance could seem reductive. And yet the day escaped that risk, as these pages demonstrate, written by figures of impressive stature in scholarship and communications: two teachers of contemporary history, five non-Italian journalists and a Cardinal. Diverse voices but united by the will to understand without preconceptions such crucial points that, though not limited to the last year, comprehend topics of the great relevance today.

Reconstructing the historical development of this line of relation, Vian recalls the encounter between Paul VI and Alberto Cavallari on 24 September 1965. The journalist of "Corriere della Sera" was later to write: "I saw a man stretched out, spontaneous, bearing little resemblance to the Pope, as he is usually describe – gaunt, tense, or introverted, or nervous, or diplomatic. 'You know we like talking about the Vatican', the affable Pope humorously said right away. 'Today many try to understand us and study us. There are many books on the Holy See and on the Council. And some are even well made, you see. But many many assert that the Church thinks this or that without ever having asked the Church what she thinks. After all, even our opinion should count for something in terms of religion'".

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