Vatican Radio: Propagation by the Airwaves

By Marilyn J. Matelski | Go to book overview
1978 Pope Paul VI dies, succeeded by Pope John Paul I, but only
shortly. Within thirty-three days, John Paul I is also dead, and a
new pontiff ( John Paul II) is elected to the throne. Vatican Radio
reports the complicated series of events, but is often criticized for
its errors and editorial policies.
1979 Vatican Radio accompanies Pope John Paul II to Poland, broad-
casting the events of his nine-day pilgrimage to thousands of
Poles. After the visit, Vatican Radio continues to service Poland,
posting broadcast hours, wavelengths, and suggested ways of
finding their shortwave programs in virtually every church in the
country.
Vatican Radio also accompanies Pope John Paul II on a trip to
Mexico City, broadcasting his sermons and addresses at every
stop.
(December 18) The pontiff declares Hans Köng guilty of heresy
and revokes his status as a teacher and theologian. Vatican Radio
(in an editorial) opposes this move. Further, the radio station
also openly supports another controversial liberal, Edward Schil-
lebeeckx.
1981 (May 13) Vatican Radio reports extensively on the assassination
attempt against Pope John Paul II. Networks in many countries
take the newsfeed, creating one of the greatest radio hookups
ever made.
1982 Rumors fly that Vatican Radio might be removed from Jesuit
management and turned over to Opus Dei. The "threat" is never
carried out; however, changes within the structure of Vatican Ra-
dio occur.
1983 Father Tucci leaves Radio. Vaticana as its director general (to be-
come Pope John Paul II's travel organizer). He is replaced by Fa-
ther Pasquale Borgomeo, S. J.
1991 Management reorganization, programming changes, and greater
papal control create a newer image of Vatican Radio -- still run
by the Jesuits on its sixtieth anniversary.
1994 Vatican Radio broadcasts on FM to Rome, on medium wave in
many parts of Europe and the Mediterranean, and on shortwave
to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia/ New Zealand, Africa,
and the Americas in thirty-four languages. Those unable to pick
up a radio signal can now pick up a telephone and "Dial the
Pope."

NOTES
1
Information or this chronology has been gathered from the following sources: James J. Onder, "The Sad State of Vatican Radio", Educational Broadcast Review ( August 1971):43-53; Mezzo Secolo della Radio del Papa ( Vatican City: Ufficio Propaganda e Sviluppo-

-172-

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