May 292013

By Fr. Federico Lombardi

VATICAN CITY, May 29, 2013 ( – The very great interest aroused by the Pope’s brief homilies in the course of the Masses celebrated every morning in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta, poses and continues to pose often the question from different parts on the possibility to access such celebrations or such homilies fully and not through the syntheses published every day by Vatican Radio and L’Osservatore Romano.

The question is understandable and has been taken several times into consideration and made the object of profound reflection, and merits a clear answer. First of all, it is necessary to keep in mind the character that the Holy Father himself attributes to the morning celebration of the Mass at Saint Martha’s.

It is a Mass with the presence of not a small group of faithful (generally more than 50 people) but whose character of familiarity the Pope intends to preserve. Because of this, despite the requests received, he has asked explicitly that it not be transmitted live on video or audio.

… After careful reflection, therefore, it was decided that the best way to make the richness of the Pope’s homilies accessible to a wider public, without altering their nature, is to publish an ample synthesis, rich also in original quoted phrases that reflect the genuine flavor of the Pope’s expressions. It is what L’Osservatore Romano is committed to doing every day, whereas Vatican Radio, on the basis of its characteristic nature, offers a briefer synthesis, but accompanied also with some passages of the original recorded audio, as well as CTV which offers a video-clip corresponding to one of the inserted audios published by Vatican Radio.

I can understand the reasoning, but am a bit disappointed. I really would have liked to see the full texts of these daily homilies for my own edification. I’ve seen more stories generated around these than his Sunday homilies.

There is a tension between the public aspect of the papacy and the more loose off-the-cuff daily homilies. Trying to make somewhat private what is not private I think will only lead to more difficulties. For example stories like last weeks “Atheists who do good works go straight to Heaven’ media-created flap will continue to be generated.

Yet like I said last week, most religion reporting never requires the context given by the full text. Just the juicy-bits that could generate a headline regardless of the facts.


  One Response to “Fr. Lombardi’s Statement on Questions Regarding Pope’s Daily Homilies”

  1. I’m disappointed as well, Jeff. I get the distinction between written and oral forms, and I get that he doesn’t want it broadcast live. So why not put the audio online? Sure, it’s only in italian, but unofficial translations can be made, and we’d always have the original available to compare.


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