ROME — Before Christmas, the Vatican plans to launch its new multimedia communications website, although the Vatican Radio and Vatican Television Center sites will stay accessible as archives.
Monsignor Dario Vigano, prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, announced Dec. 13 that the new site — vaticannews.va — would be launched in beta form “in the coming days.”
The public announcement came the day after Vigano presented the site to Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals and explained to the council the progress made in unifying the various Vatican media.
“The cornerstone of the system, fruit of a process of consolidation on an economic and technical level, is represented by the Editorial Multimedia Center,” which will be a single structure responsible for producing audio, text, video and graphics in several languages and for use on a variety of platforms, including the new website and social media.
The Secretariat for Communication’s editorial board will determine how various events and issues are presented and covered.
According to a statement from Vigano, eventually the multimedia center will include about 350 employees drawn from the 40 language programs of the former Vatican Radio and from the nine institutions — the radio, Vatican newspaper, Vatican television production center, Vatican printing press, etc. — that now form part of the secretariat.
The multimedia center will begin its work with 70 people working in six languages: Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese. They will focus on four areas: The pope, the Vatican, the Church and the world.
Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office, briefed reporters on the meeting of the Council of Cardinals Dec. 11-13, including on Vigano’s report that the new website and production center are simply the “first visible and concrete expression” of the unified approach to communications requested by the pope and cardinals.
More generally, the pope and cardinals discussed “the Curia as an instrument of evangelization and of service to the pope and the local churches,” Burke said. The idea of the “reform of the Roman Curia” is not simply to change structures, “but mentalities.”
U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, a member of the Council of Cardinals and president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, briefed the group on the commission’s activity, “especially regarding its work in helping local churches.”
Burke said the discussion was held before Peter Saunders, a British abuse survivor and advocate, told The Tablet, the British Catholic journal, that he would formally resign from the commission Dec. 15, two days before his three-year appointment to the body expires. Saunders had been asked in 2016 to take a leave of absence from the group.
Like Marie Collins, an Irish survivor who resigned in March, Saunders cited his frustration with the slow pace of action, particularly in holding accountable bishops who have failed to report alleged cases of sexual abuse.
Francis formed the Council of Cardinals one month after his election in 2013. The cardinals have been working on ideas for the reform of the Roman Curia, but also advise Francis on a variety of matters regarding church governance. The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 26-28.