VATICAN CITY, DEC. 22, 2008 (Zenit.org).- This Christmas we celebrate not only the birth of Christ, but also the birth of Vatican Television, which 25 years ago began to proclaim the Gospel through telecommunication images.
In his weekly television program “Octava Dies,” Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, commemorated the foundation of the Vatican Television Center (CTV) by Pope John Paul II 25 years ago.
Father Lombardi, who also directs the television center, explained that “the mission of the Church is the proclamation of the Gospel, it is communication; she cannot therefore leave aside the use of images, specifically television.”
At the beginning, he said, CTV was “a small organization, but with an important mission to contribute to the universal proclamation of the Gospel, using the means and language typical of telecommunication.”
The Jesuit continued: “This is what CTV tries to do: follow the Holy Father’s ecclesial service and the great liturgical celebrations at the center of Christendom day in and day out.
“Benedict XVI renewed his confidence in it, encouraging it to collaborate with all those who work in the vast world of social communications with the same spirit: Television for the Church and for the Gospel.”
This Christmas, CTV will cover the papal liturgical celebrations, making it possible for public viewing in different parts of the world.
Father Lombardi pointed out that “in the Christmas season we understand the relationship between images and the proclamation of salvation in an especially profound way. The incarnate Son of God is in fact the image of the invisible God, and the New Testament, as we read in the First Letter of John, tells of what ‘we have seen with our eyes.'”
He added: “Throughout history the image has been placed at the service of the proclamation of Christianity, from the first paintings in the catacombs, to the immense cycles of frescoes and stained glass windows in the cathedrals for the instruction and prayer of the people, to the printing of the Gospel pictures occasionally used by missionaries […] right up to our times in which photography and television have given birth to a true culture or civilization of the image.”
The CTV is a production center — rather than a television station with its own programming — that records the activities of the Holy Father and makes the images available to viewers throughout the world.
<br>In one year CTV provides around 230 live broadcasts and archives 2,000 hours of recorded footage.
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Vatican Television Center: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/television/index.htm