A little late maybe, but this upgrade is welcome

The Vatican may…may be moving away from high-deaf in regards to technology to high-def.

From CNA:

Vatican TV makes high-definition move with new broadcast van

Vatican City, Nov 16, 2010 / 07:22 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican has unveiled a new tool for evangelization in the form of a van equipped with 17 high-definition cameras for live and outdoor broadcasting.

The Holy See’s Vatican Television Center received the state-of-the-art van from Sony on Nov. 16.

Fr. Federico Lombardi, head of the Vatican Press Office, said the new mobile broadcasting unit was a much-needed upgrade. He noted that it has previously taken three smaller trucks to carry the same number of cameras, without the benefit of high-definition technology.

He also noted the increasing use of high-definition video for documentaries and television programs. Thus, the Vatican spokesman explained, a switch to high-definition was “a necessary step” to ensure the Church’s media presence.  [D’ya think?]

“Otherwise,” he said, “the image of the Pope would gradually have disappeared from television screens during the coming years.” [BINGO!]

Vatican Television currently broadcasts around 200 live programs every year, including celebrations in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope’s recitation of the Angelus and his accompanying talks, and some live concerts.

The Knights of Columbus covered nearly a quarter of the $6 million cost for the new broadcasting van.

Carl Anderson, the fraternal order’s Supreme Knight, said he was grateful for the opportunity to help the Vatican broadcast the Gospel message. [Americans once again. KofC once again.]

Citing the example of Jesus’ own public speeches and the journeys of the apostles, he said there was “an unbroken Catholic tradition of bringing Christ to the greatest number of people possible, in the clearest manner available.”  [See below.]

High-definition television, Anderson said, is becoming a important forum for ideas and culture. He observed that while technology and social conditions change, and lead the Church to propose its message in new ways, the message itself is unchanging.

“It is our hope that this new technology in the service of evangelization will serve as a conduit,” he announced, “bringing to every corner of the earth the word of God … in the most technologically clear and advanced manner that has ever been possible, and transforming the lives of countless people.”

Archbishop Claudio M. Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, reported that his office had not yet chosen a name for the new high-definition broadcasting service. [Hey WDTPRSers!  Have any suggestions?]

But he was effusive about the technology’s potential, calling the update “the latest act … to create frank, open dialogue” on a “technologically sophisticated plane.” Archbishop Celli also mentioned a possible future project, geared toward consolidating multiple Vatican news sources into one. [And lose that division of labor and all those mixed messages?  Each entity and even language group having its own agenda?]

Fr. Lombardi said that after a series of “final modifications,” the van “should be up and running in time for Christmas.”

I consider this very good news.  In the past, the Vatican has updated technology every 75 years whether it needed to or not.  I believe the pattern is breaking.

Back 2009 I wrote a piece on technology for The Catholic Herald.  I included this:

In all ages of the Church’s mission to preach the Good News Catholics consistently made use of the best available tools of social communication. The Apostles wrote letters which were in turn read aloud and recopied for wider distribution. The Emperor Constantine let bishops use the imperial postal system and they so over-taxed it that it nearly collapsed. Monks copied manuscripts. When people learned to make thin soaring walls of stone, stained-glass illuminated the literate and unlettered alike with the mysteries of the faith. We made use of the printing press. We had one of the first significant radio stations. There was a Catholic-friendly film industry. For decades Servant of God Fulton Sheen’s broadcasts were vastly popular in the United States. A simple woman religious named Angelica built a global satellite network. We are nearly a decade into this millennium.

We are a decade into this millennium now.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Vetdoctor says:

    A new name? How about V-D TV?

  2. Legisperitus says:

    How about that classic lyric from O Esca Viatorum:

    “Cernamus Acie”? Or just “ACIE” for short. They could make it an acronym for something.

  3. smcollinsus says:

    “Catholic HDTV” for Catholic High Definition Television. For Catholics viewing this station, they should take all they see and hear as being “high definition”! A slogan could be “Yes, we Vati-Can”. An outreach to the bishops of the world could be “Can you hear me now?”

  4. Supertradmum says:

    I would call the network “Clairvaux” as a pun on words from the name of the patron saint of television, St. Clare of Assisi, and my favorite mystic, St. Bernard of Clairvaux the Mellifluous.

  5. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    How about after the italian verb to see, the “vedere”, or maybe someone smart here knows it in Latin?

  6. Rob in Maine says:

    I’m proud to be a Knight that we can do so much for The Church.

  7. Tantum Ergo says:

    his office had not yet chosen a name for the new high-definition broadcasting service. [Hey WDTPRSers! Have any suggestions?

    How bout’ Vati-cam?

  8. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Per Speculum In Enigmate Inferiore (I know, it’s too long)
    In Hoc Signo
    Siloam (too obscure?)
    Damascus Road/Ite Damascene
    Higher Definition

  9. dad29 says:

    A Roma Tibi

    From Rome to You. ART for short.

  10. Dave N. says:

    “In the past, the Vatican has updated technology every 75 years whether it needed to or not. I believe the pattern is breaking.”


    Seeing technology used for the cause of the Gospel is always more heartening to me than simply condemning it. This is part of evangelizing the culture.

  11. teomatteo says:

    Father Z., out of respect for my brother Knights please keep in mind that Carl Anderson represents Knights from many countries including our brothers from Canada, Mexico, Philipines, Etc…..

  12. teomatteo says:

    Here is a dumb question: if the Vatican uses HD then will EWTN then broadcast is HD ?… they really need to…

  13. MikeM says:

    With EWTN, forget HDTV… first they need to stop starting all their music with 80s musac.

    I’m glad to have an orthodox TV channel, but it has the general look of an early episode of the 700 Club and the intros look and sound like something from a “teen oriented” show from the 90s on a UHF network.

  14. Traductora says:

    I love the K of C. Best guys in the universe!

  15. PapalCount says:

    Carl Anderson, the fraternal order’s Supreme Knight, said he was grateful for the opportunity to help the Vatican broadcast the Gospel message. [Americans once again. KofC once again.]

    Hey Fr Z you write “Americans once again. KofC…” don’t forget that the KofC has thousands of members in Canada and in Mexico and even a strong contingent from The Bahamas — all of whom contributed to the new TV stuff for the Vatican. KofC once again YES! but not just the Americans. The KofC is quite global.
    Love this site. Enjoy the UK to the full .

  16. Tony Layne says:

    “Beatific Vision”? “Vaticam”? “Benedicam”? “Pontifocus”? Think of it: Pontifical Mass live from St. Peter’s in hi-def with Dolby 5.1!

    @ MikeM: Cut EWTN a break! They most likely have a budget that makes the description “shoestring” a wild exaggeration.

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