On Tuesday, the Vatican unveiled a “new and improved” weekly edition of its newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, which will begin with the Jan. 19 issue, and include updates to both content and the newspaper’s look, according to the director.
The changes are intended to merge new with old, keeping the newspaper’s fundamental characteristic, that it’s an “echo of papal teaching,” Director Giovanni Maria Vian told journalists Jan. 10.
New voices, including both secular and Catholic writers, will be added to four of the main sections of the paper: Vatican information, international news, religious news, and culture.
There will also be new articles written by representatives of different Christian denominations and non-Christian religions, and a new meditation on the Sunday Gospel passage.
Some content of the weekly edition will be pulled from the daily editions of that week, which is also a change. Graphics will receive an update as well.
One thing the director emphasized is that the “fundamental” content of the paper, full papal texts, an overview of the Pope’s activities, etc. will remain as they have been. The paper will also keep its “fraternity of the tongue,” Vian said, that is, “not to wound anyone and to have good relations with all.”
The updated edition comes out on the 69th anniversary of the Italian weekly’s first publication on Jan. 19, 1948.
L’Osservatore Romano – “The Roman Observer” in English – was launched in 1861 to defend the Papal States against the Italian political radical Giuseppe Garibaldi in his bid to subsume the Pope’s territories into a newly unified Italy. The paper’s ownership was independent of the Church up until 1885 when the Vatican acquired it during the reign of Pope Leo XIII.
The main, daily edition of the newspaper is in Italian.
In 1968, a weekly edition in English was started. It now has weekly editions in German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and starting Jan. 6, Malayalam, a language spoken in India. The publication also has a monthly edition in Polish.