Vatican Radio

Vatican Radio (Italian: Radio Vaticana; Latin: Statio Radiophonica Vaticana) is the official broadcasting service of the Vatican.

Set up in 1931 by Guglielmo Marconi, today its programs are offered in 47 languages, and are sent out on short wave (also DRM), medium wave, FM, satellite and the Internet. Since its inception, Vatican Radio has been maintained by the Jesuit Order. Vatican Radio preserved its independence during the rise of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Following the outbreak of World War II, a week after Pope Pius XII ordered the programming, Vatican Radio broadcast the news that Poles and Jews were being rounded up and forced into ghettos.

Today, programming is produced by over two hundred journalists located in 61 different countries. Vatican Radio produces more than 42,000 hours of simultaneous broadcasting covering international news, religious celebrations, in-depth programs, and music. The current general director is Father Federico Lombardi, S.J.

On 27 June 2015, Pope Francis, in a motu proprio ("on his own initiative") apostolic letter, established the Secretariat for Communications in the Roman Curia, which absorbed Vatican Radio effective 1 January 2017, ending the organization's 85 years of independent operation.[1]

Radio Vaticana logo
Broadcast areaWorldwide
FormatNews, religious celebrations, in-depth programs, and music
AffiliationsWorld Radio Network
OwnerSecretariat for Communications of the Roman Curia
Administration building and radio masts at Vatican City
Radio Vaticana is located in Vatican City
Radio Vaticana
Radio Vaticana
Location on a map of Vatican City



PioXI et Pacelliinaugurazioneradiovaticana
pope Pius XI,
his successor Pacelli with Marconi at starting of Vatican Radio 1931

Vatican Radio began broadcasting with the callsign HVJ[2] on two shortwave frequencies using 10 kilowatts (kW) of power on 12 February 1931, with the pontificial message "Omni creaturae" of Pope Pius XI.[3] Also in attendance was Guglielmo Marconi and Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who would become Pope Pius XII[3] Its first director was physicist Giuseppe Gianfranceschi, who was also the president of the Accademia dei Nuovi Lincei.

In 1933, a permanent microwave link was established between the Vatican Palace and the summer residence of the papacy, Castel Gandolfo.[3]

In 1936, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recognized Vatican Radio as a "special case" and authorized its broadcasting without any geographical limits. On 25 December 1937 a Telefunken 25 kW transmitter and two directional antennas were added. Vatican Radio broadcast over 10 frequencies.[3]

World War II

Following a December 1939 report from Cardinal August Hlond of Poznań detailing the oppression of the Catholic Church in Poland, Pope Pius XII decided, among other measures, to use Vatican Radio to provide "information regarding the condition of the church in Poland." The German broadcast on 21 January 1940 compared German activities to "what the Communists imposed on Spain in 1936"; the English service noted the attacks on the Church were not limited to the Soviets.[4]

During World War II, Vatican Radio's news broadcasts were (like all foreign broadcasts) banned in Germany. During the war, the radio service operated in four languages.

While some critics have said Pope Pius XII was too quiet regarding the Holocaust,[5] Jacques Adler examined the transcripts of wartime broadcasts over the Vatican Radio. Adler argues that it exposed Nazi persecution of the Church and opposed collaboration with Nazism. It appealed to Catholics to remain true to their faith's injunctions: to defend the sanctity of life and the unity of humankind. In so doing the Pope pursued a policy of spiritual resistance to Nazi ideology and racism.[6]

1940s and 1950s

In 1948, services expanded to 18 languages.

Because of space purposes, the Holy See acquired a 400-hectare area located 18 kilometres north of Rome at Santa Maria di Galeria (GC: 42°2′39″N 12°19′22″E / 42.04417°N 12.32278°E). The Italian Republic granted the site extraterritorial status in 1952.[3]

In 1957, a new broadcasting center was placed into operation, with a Philips 100 kW shortwave transmitter, two 10 kW shortwave transmitters, and one 120 kW mediumwave transmitter, with 21 directional and one omnidirectional antenna. The next phase involved two 100 kW transmitters aimed at Africa and Oceania, a 250 kW mediumwave transmitter for Europe, and a 500 kW transmitter for the Far East and Latin America.[3]

Radio Vaticana was one of 23 founding broadcasting organisations of the European Broadcasting Union in 1950.


In the 21st century, Vatican Radio has experimented with digital transmission technologies (DRM, T-DAB, T-DMB) and has used electronic newsletters, podcasts, and other new technologies to distribute its programming. Vatican Radio and CTV began their own YouTube channel in 2010, operating in four languages, and operates six Twitter accounts.

In May 2009 it was announced that Vatican Radio would begin broadcasting commercial advertisements for the first time in July. The decision was made so as to meet the radio's rising costs, namely 21.4m euros a year. All advertisements would have to meet "high moral standards".[7] Vatican Radio stopped transmitting short- and medium-wave broadcasts to North America, South America, and Europe on Sunday 1 July 2012. The Vatican Press Office closed Vatican Information Service in August 2012.[8]

In 2014 Michael Gannon, from Ireland, became the first person with Down Syndrome to work at any Vatican office, which he did as an intern at Vatican Radio.[9][10]

As of 2016, Vatican Radio had a staff of 355 people who produce more than 66 hours of daily programming in 45 languages on air, and 38 languages on the website. Programs are broadcast via short wave, medium wave, FM and satellite.

Vatican Radio has been losing between €20 and €30 million annually. With its absorption into the Curia's Secretariat for Communications on 1 January 2017 Vatican Radio director Msgr. Dario Viganò has indicated that he plans to pare down short-wave radio operations and institute cost control measures in the service's other broadcast operations.

On 24 March 2017, Vatican Radio made its final English-language shortwave transmission to Asia after 59 years of service. Vatican Radio's English Service for Asia has then continued online.


During the 1930s, the station made experimental television broadcasts. However, apart from a brief experimental revival in the 1950s, it was not until the 1990s that a regular 'satellite' television service began. The programs of TV2000 include programming from Vatican Television Center.


The signals are transmitted from a large shortwave and medium-wave transmission facility for Radio Vatican. The Santa Maria di Galeria Transmitter was established in 1957 and it is an extraterritorial area in Italy belonging to the Holy See. Vatican Radio's interval signal is a well-known sound on shortwave radio.

The most interesting aerial is the one for the medium wave frequency 1530 kHz, which consists of four 94 metre high grounded free standing towers arranged in a square, which carry wires for a medium wave aerial on horizontal crossbars. The direction of this aerial can be changed.[11]

Radiation controversy

The Santa Maria di Galeria transmitter site is the subject of a dispute between the station and some local residents who claim the non-ionising radiation from the site has affected their health[12] and a study by cancer specialist Dr. Andrea Micheli has suggested that electromagnetic radiation from the antennas has caused excess risk of leukaemia and lymphomas in children.[13] These claims are not accepted by the station and are not peer reviewed.

See also


  1. ^ "Vatican Radio Ends 85 Years of Independent Operations". Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  2. ^ Matelski, Marilyn J.. Vatican Radio: Propagation by the Airwaves. 1995, Praeger. ISBN 0-275-94760-2
  3. ^ a b c d e f Levillain 2002: 1600
  4. ^ Blet 1999: 74-75
  5. ^ Frank J. Coppa, "Pope Pius XII: From the Diplomacy of Impartiality to the Silence of the Holocaust," Journal of Church and State (2013) 55#2 pp 286-306.
  6. ^ Jacques Adler, "The 'Sin of Omission'? Radio Vatican and the anti-Nazi Struggle, 1940–1942," Australian Journal of Politics & History (2004) 50#3 pp 396-406.
  7. ^ "Vatican Radio to air advertising", BBC, 26 May 2009
  8. ^ "Catholic News Service". Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney - News". Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Vatican Radio Vatican Radio". Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  11. ^ "General view of the Santa Maria di Galeria transmitter site". Archived from the original on 2010-01-22. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
  12. ^ " - CBSi". Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Radio Vaticana, una perizia conferma il nesso tra le onde delle antenne e i tumori nei bimbi - Roma -". Retrieved 10 January 2017.


  • Blet, Pierre. Pius XII and the Second World War: According to the Archives of the Vatican. Translated by Lawrence J. Johnson. 1999, Paulist Press. ISBN 0-8091-0503-9
  • Levilliain, Philippe. The Papacy: An Encyclopedia. Translated by John O'Malley. Routledge, 2002. ISBN 0-415-92228-3
  • Matelski, Marilyn J. Vatican Radio: Propagation by the Airwaves. 1995, Praeger ISBN 0-275-94760-2

External links

Capture of Rome

The capture of Rome (Italian: Presa di Roma), on 20 September 1870 was the final event of the long process of Italian unification known as the Risorgimento, marking both the final defeat of the Papal States under Pope Pius IX and the unification of the Italian peninsula under King Victor Emmanuel II of the House of Savoy.

The capture of Rome ended the approximate 1,116-year reign (AD 754 to 1870) of the Papal States under the Holy See and is today widely memorialized throughout Italy with the Via XX Settembre street name in virtually every town of any size. is an online database of bishops and dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Catholic Churches. The website is not officially sanctioned by the Church. It is run as a private project by David M. Cheney in Kansas City.

Council of Cardinal Advisers

The Council of Cardinal Advisers, formally the Council of Cardinals (C9), is a group of Catholic cardinals appointed by Pope Francis to serve as his advisers. Announced on 13 April 2013, one month after his election, it was formally established on 28 September of the same year. The Council currently has six members, following the decision by Pope Francis to remove three of its members in late 2018.

Culture of Vatican City

Vatican City is itself of great cultural significance. Buildings such as St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are home to some of the most famous art in the world, which includes works by artists such as Botticelli, Bernini and Michelangelo. The Vatican Library and the collections of the Vatican Museums are of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance. In 1984, the Vatican was added by UNESCO to the List of World Heritage Sites; it is the only one to consist of an entire country.The Vatican can be said to be the de facto custodian of the Latin language through its Latinitas Foundation. An important product of this foundation is the Latin lexicon of recent neologisms, the Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis.

The permanent population of the Vatican City is predominantly male, although two communities of nuns live in the Vatican. A minority are senior Catholic clergy, some are members of institutes of consecrated life, and the Swiss Guards make up an important segment. Many workers in Vatican City and embassy personnel accredited to the Holy See live outside its walls.

Tourism and pilgrimages are an important factor in the daily life in the Vatican. The Pope has weekly public audiences and celebrates public Mass and other services, and imparts his Urbi et Orbi blessing every Easter and Christmas, and immediately following his election as Pope. For significant events with large numbers of attendees, he concelebrates open-air Mass in Saint Peter's Square.

Dicastery for Communications

The Dicastery for Communications (Italian: Dicastero per la Comunicazione) is a division (dicastery) of the Roman Curia with authority over all communication offices of the Holy See and the Vatican City State, including the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Holy See Press Office, Vatican Internet Service, Vatican Radio, Vatican Television Center, L'Osservatore Romano, Vatican Press, Photograph Service, and Vatican Publishing House.Pope Francis established the Secretariat for Communications in June 2015, with Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò, former director of the Vatican Television Center, as its first Prefect. Viganò resigned on 21 March 2018, "a week after his mishandling of a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI provoked a global outcry".On 23 June 2018, the Secretariat was renamed Dicastery for Communications, and on 5 July 2018, Pope Francis appointed award-winning lay journalist Paolo Ruffini, as Prefect. He was the first layman named to head a Vatican dicastery. Monsignor Lucio Adrian Ruiz, former head of the Vatican Internet Service, is secretary. Paul Nusiner, former General Manager of Avvenire is director general.

Eberhard von Gemmingen

German Jesuit Eberhard von Gemmingen (born 4 April 1936) is the head of the editorial board of the German Vatican Radio.

Federico Lombardi

Federico Lombardi, S.J. (born 29 August 1942) is an Italian Catholic priest and the former director of the Holy See Press Office. He serves as the postulator for the beatification and canonization cause of Father Bernardo Mattio.

Holy See–Malaysia relations

Holy See–Malaysia relations (Latin: Sanctus videre elit, rationes; Italian: Relazioni tra Santa Sede e Malesia; French: Relations entre le Saint-Siège et la Malaisie; Malay: Hubungan Malaysia–Takhta Suci; Jawi: هوبوڠن مليسيا–تختا سوچي) are foreign relations between the Holy See and Malaysia.

In 2002, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad visited the Vatican to meet Pope John Paul II. During the second visit of the next Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak and Pope Benedict XVI at the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, an agreement to establish diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Malaysia was finalised. Malaysia became the 179th state to establish diplomatic relations with the Holy See.The Holy See previously had an apostolic delegation, based in Bangkok, for the country. Pending the appointment of the first Nuncio to Malaysia, the papal representative in Bangkok continued to act as Apostolic Delegate for Malaysia, accredited to the Catholic Church in the country but not to the Government. In January 2013, American archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino was appointed as the first nuncio to Malaysia.Malaysia appointed Bernard Giluk Dompok as first resident ambassador to the Holy See in 2016. In 2017, the Holy See open its official chancery in Kuala Lumpur.

Index of Vatican City-related articles

This is an index of Vatican City-related topics.

International Union of Catholic Esperantists

The International Union of Catholic Esperantists (Esperanto: Internacia Katolika Unuiĝo Esperantista, IKUE) is an organization of Catholic Esperanto speakers. It was founded in 1910 in Paris and is now headquartered in Rome.

List of flags of the Papacy

The following is a list of flags used in Vatican City and the Papal States. (The Vatican Today) was a news information portal provided by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications which "aggregate[s] information from the Vatican’s various print, online, radio and television media in a one-stop shop for news about the Holy See."The site was launched on June 27, 2011. launched The Pope App in January 2013.On Saturday, June 27, 2015, Pope Francis, through a motu proprio ("on his own initiative") apostolic letter, established the Secretariat for Communications in the Roman Curia, and and the Pontifical Council are expected to be incorporated in it eventually.The menu on the site consists of links to various Catholic social media options, such as:

Fides News Agency - the information service reporting news which has taken place all over the world.

L'Osservatore Romano - Vatican newspaper which presents papal texts and documents of the Holy See in a documentary and journalistic style.

Press Office of the Holy See - daily news, documentation, Vatican information service and logistical information.

VIS - shares recent Vatican City news in reverse chronological order.

Vatican Radio - a mean of communication which serves the ministry of the Pope and reports news from the Vatican, the church and from the rest of the world.

CTV - the Vatican Television Center which aims to spread the Gospel by documenting the Pope’s pastoral ministry and the activities from the Holy See.

A link named "From the Pope" - takes the visitor to the official Vatican website.

Octava Dies

Octava Dies is a 25 minute weekly TV magazine show, which broadcasts worldwide since Easter 1998. It is also broadcast by Italian Catholic television channels and by press agencies such as APTN. It is available in English and Italian on the Vatican’s website (broadcast every Sunday at 12:30 after the Angelus).

The magazine is part of the Vatican Television Center (CTV) programs, which are transmitted by the national broadcaster of the state of Vatican City. This specific weekly program highlights the activities of Pope Francis and the Holy See. Taped at the Vatican and in other places visited by the Pope in the course of his day-to-day ministry.Vatican Central Television was first aired in 1983.

Pasquale Borgomeo

Pasquale Borgomeo (20 March 1933 in Naples – 2 July 2009 in Rome, Italy) was an Italian Jesuit priest and longtime director of the Vatican Radio.

Borgomeo entered the Society of Jesus at the young age of 15 (3 October 1948). After the usual noviciate spiritual training, and the traditional Jesuit formation he is ordained priest on 7 July 1963. He is then sent to Paris where he obtains a doctorate in Patristics at the Sorbonne University, with a thesis on the Pastoral Ecclesiology of Saint Augustin, under the direction of Henri-Irénée Marrou.

Though thus prepared to be a professor of Theology circumstances led Borgomeo to be sent to work on the staff of Vatican Radio (in 1970). His competence and culture, knowledge of languages, communication skills and dynamism made him rise to the position of Director General of the Vatican Radio, where he succeeded Roberto (now Cardinal) Tucci. In all he worked for 35 years at the service of the Radio.He died in Rome, Italy, on July 2, 2009, at the age of 76 after a long illness.

Saint John's Tower (Vatican City)

Saint John's Tower (Italian: Torre San Giovanni) is a round structure located on a hilltop in the westernmost tip of Vatican City, near Vatican Radio and overlooking the Vatican Gardens. The Medieval tower is located along an ancient wall built by Pope Nicholas III, but it fell into disuse at the beginning of the 16th century. It was rebuilt by Pope John XXIII in the early 1960s.In modern times, the Tower houses papal apartments used by popes when maintenance work is being done on the Apostolic Palace and also is reserved for illustrious guests of the Pontiffs. In 1979, Pope John Paul II temporarily moved into Torre San Giovanni while the work in his official apartment was being completed. In 1971, Hungarian Cardinal József Mindszenty was allowed to stay in the tower by Pope Paul VI, when the prelate was allowed to leave Budapest, where he had lived in asylum at the U.S. Embassy. After Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone replaced Cardinal Angelo Sodano as Vatican Secretary of State in 2006, Cardinal Bertone lived in the tower while Cardinal Sodano continued to live in the official residence.In June 2008, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI would welcome U.S. President George W. Bush in the Torre San Giovanni during the American President's visit to the Vatican that month, to repay Bush for the warm reception the Pope enjoyed at the White House during his April 2008 visit to the United States of America. Normally the Pope greets heads of state in his private library in the Apostolic Palace.

Currently, Saint John's Tower is the seat of the Secretariat for the Economy.

Spotlight (film)

Spotlight is a 2015 American biographical drama film directed by Tom McCarthy and written by McCarthy and Josh Singer. The film follows The Boston Globe's "Spotlight" team, the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative journalist unit in the United States, and its investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests. It is based on a series of stories by the "Spotlight" team that earned The Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The film features an ensemble cast starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci, with Brian d'Arcy James, Liev Schreiber, and Billy Crudup in supporting roles.Spotlight was shown in the Out of Competition section of the 72nd Venice International Film Festival. It was also shown at the Telluride Film Festival and the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was released on November 6, 2015, by Open Road Films and grossed $98 million worldwide. It won numerous guilds and critics' association awards, and was named one of the finest films of 2015 by various publications. Spotlight won the Academy Award for Best Picture, along with Best Original Screenplay, from six total nominations.

The Resurrection (Fazzini)

The Resurrection (La Resurrezione) is an 800-quintal (80 metric ton) bronze/copper-alloy sculpture by Pericle Fazzini in the Paul VI Audience Hall in Rome. Intended to capture the anguish of 20th century mankind living under the threat of nuclear war, La Resurrezione depicts Jesus rising from a nuclear crater in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The sculpture's dimensions are 66 ft × 23 ft × 10 ft (20.1 m × 7.0 m × 3.0 m). The commission for the work was ordered by Count Galeassi in 1965; casting began at the Michelucci Art Foundry in Pistoia in 1972; the final sketch was produced in 1975; and the work was completed and inaugurated on September 28, 1977.

The original work was done in polystyrene and the fumes of the burning plastic gave Fazzini a blood clot during its production. The statue was restored over three months in 2011.

Vatican City in World War II

Vatican City pursued a policy of neutrality during World War II, under the leadership of Pope Pius XII. Although the city of Rome was occupied by Germany from 1943 and the Allies from 1944, Vatican City itself was not occupied. The Vatican organised extensive humanitarian aid throughout the duration of the conflict.

Vatican Radio lawsuit

The Vatican Radio lawsuit was started by the Regional Health Department for "Throwing of dangerous things" on the Italian ground at their antenna site.

The Santa Maria di Galeria transmitter site is the subject of a dispute between the station and some local residents who claim the non-ionising radiation from the site has affected their health. However these claims are not accepted by the station. The only peer reviewed study of these statistics did find a statistically higher incidence of leukemia within 6 km of the transmitter site, but stated that no causal implication can be drawn. Every time it has been sued, the station cited the Lateran Treaty, bilateral agreements signed by the Holy See and Benito Mussolini which exempt it from Italian law. (The area around the antennas at the time it was built was not heavily populated.)

Vatican Radio covers an area of Rome, as set by the 'extraterritorial right' in Italian law. Within this area, some of the station's pylons are higher than 100 meters (330 feet). These transmitters have been in place since 1957. Since this part of Rome is not under Italian jurisdiction, these transmitters are not subject to the Italian laws that limit the radiation that a radio station can emit. In the vicinity of these pylons, the radiation emitted can be more than the double the amount allowed by Italian law, as verified officially by the Italian Civil Defense and the Department for the Environment of the region of Lazio. However, these levels are comparable to those allowed in other countries and are frequency dependent.

Residents who have moved to the area near the transmitters have experienced other disturbances relating to the station, as is common near transmitter sites the world over. The most common complaints are that one can hear the transmissions breaking through on telephones, and other electronic devices (due in many cases to the devices having poor electromagnetic immunity to the strong signals). The Region of Lazio has also found that the people in the area around the transmitters are more likely to have leukemia; the closer those in the examined sample lived to the radio station, the more likely they were to have leukemia, up to six times the Italian national average. This study was not peer reviewed.

Dramatizing the study, a well known Italian TV program called Le Iene went to the radio station and replaced the radio's insignia with a new one stating 'Radio Erode' meaning 'Herod's Radio', referring to Herod the Great and the Massacre of the Innocents, since the study showed that the most affected people are children 0 to 14 years old.

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