L'Osservatore Romano

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L'Osservatore Romano
19 August 2015 Italian-language front page of L'Osservatore Romano
TypeDaily in Italian
Weekly in other languages
Owner(s) The Holy See
Editor Andrea Monda
Founded1 July 1861 (158 years old)
Political alignment Roman Catholic Church
HeadquartersVia del Pellegrino - 00120
Vatican City
ISSN 0391-688X
Website www.osservatoreromano.va

L'Osservatore Romano (pronounced  [losservaˈtoːre roˈmaːno] ; Italian for 'The Roman Observer') is the daily newspaper of Vatican City State which reports on the activities of the Holy See and events taking place in the Church and the world. [1] [2] It is owned by the Holy See but is not an official publication, a role reserved for the Acta Apostolicae Sedis , which acts as a government gazette. [3] [4] [2] The views expressed in the Osservatore are those of individual authors unless they appear under the specific titles "Nostre Informazioni" or "Santa Sede". [5] [6]

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a protected language in these countries. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

Holy See Episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, refers to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law.

Acta Apostolicae Sedis, often cited as AAS, is the official gazette of the Holy See, appearing about twelve times a year. It was established by Pope Pius X on 29 September 1908 with the decree Promulgandi Pontificias Constitutiones, and publication began in January 1909. It contains all the principal decrees, encyclical letters, decisions of Roman congregations, and notices of ecclesiastical appointments. The laws contained in it are to be considered promulgated when published, and effective three months from date of issue, unless a shorter or longer time is specified in the law.


Available in nine languages, the paper prints two Latin mottos under the masthead of each edition: Unicuique suum ("To each his own") and Non praevalebunt ("[The gates of Hell] shall not prevail"). [7] The current editor-in-chief is Andrea Monda.

Nameplate (publishing) newspaper front page header

The nameplate or masthead of a newspaper or periodical is its designed title as it appears on the front page or cover. Another very common term for it in the newspaper industry is "the flag." It is part of the publication's branding, with a specific font and, usually, color. It may include other details besides the name, such as ornamentation, a subtitle, or motto. For example, the masthead of The Times of London includes the British Royal Arms between the words "The" and "Times".

On 27 June 2015, Pope Francis, in an apostolic letter, established the Secretariat for Communications, a new part of the Roman Curia, and included L'Osservatore Romano under its management. [8] [9]

Pope Francis 266th and current pope

Pope Francis is the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, the first to visit the Arabian Peninsula, and the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century.

The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. It acts in the Pope's name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular churches and provides the central organization for the church to advance its objectives.


L'Osservatore Romano is published in nine different languages (listed by date of first publication): [10]

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.

Spanish or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has over 450 million native speakers in Spain and the Americas. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

The daily Italian edition of L'Osservatore Romano is published in the afternoon, but with a cover date of the following day, a convention that sometimes results in confusion. [3] The weekly English edition is distributed in more than 129 countries, including both English-speaking countries and locales where English is used as the general means of communication. [10]

The cover date of a periodical publication such as a magazine or comic book is the date displayed on the cover. This is not necessarily the true date of publication. For some publications, the cover date may not be found on the cover, but rather on an inside jacket or on an interior page.


Under Pope Leo XIII, the Holy See acquired ownership of L'Osservatore in 1885. Leo XIII.jpg
Under Pope Leo XIII, the Holy See acquired ownership of L'Osservatore in 1885.

19th century

Giornale di Roma (27 November 1852) Giornale-di-Roma-27-November-1852.jpg
Giornale di Roma (27 November 1852)
L'Osservatore Romano: front page of 15 May 1891, publishing the encyclical Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII. Losservatore-Romano-15-May-1891.jpg
L'Osservatore Romano: front page of 15 May 1891, publishing the encyclical Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII.

Giornale di Roma was the newspaper of the Papal States, with first issue published in Rome on 6 July 1849. It continued until 19 September 1870 and is considered the predecessor of L'Osservatore Romano.

The first issue of L'Osservatore Romano was published in Rome on 1 July 1861, a few months after the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed on 17 March 1861. [10] The original intent of the newspaper was unabashedly polemical and propagandistic in defence of the Papal States, adopting the name of a private pamphlet financed by a French Catholic legitimist group. [10] 18 September 1860 defeat of papal troops at Castelfidardo substantially reduced the temporal power of the Pope, prompting Catholic intellectuals to present themselves in Rome for the service of Pope Pius IX. [10] This agenda supported the notion of a daily publication to champion the opinions of the Holy See. [10]

By July 1860, the deputy Minister of the Interior, Marcantonio Pacelli (grandfather of the future Pope Pius XII), had plans to supplement the official bulletin of the Catholic Church Giornale di Roma with a semi-official "rhetorical" publication. In early 1861, controversialist Nicola Zanchini and journalist Giuseppe Bastia were granted editorial direction of Pacelli's newspaper. Official permission to publish was sought on 22 June 1861, and four days later, on 26 June, Pius IX gave his approval for the regulation of L'Osservatore. [10]

The first edition was entitled "L'Osservatore Romano – a political and moral paper" and cost five baiocchi. The "political and moral paper" epithet was dropped before 1862, adding instead the two Latin mottoes that still appear under the masthead today. [10] The editors of the paper initially met in the Salviucci Press on the Piazza de' Santi Apostoli, where the paper was printed. Only when the editorial staff was established on the Palazzo Petri in Piazza dei Crociferi and the first issue printed there on 31 March, was the wording "daily newspaper" added to the masthead.

After the breach of Porta Pia by Italian troops in September 1870, L'Osservatore Romano solidified its opposition to the Kingdom of Italy, affirming obedience to the Pope and adherence to his directives, stating it would remain faithful "to that unchangeable principle of religion and morals which recognises as its sole depository and claimant the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth". [10] Soon after, L'Osservatore began to replace the Giornale di Roma as the news organ of the Pontifical State. Giornale di Roma stopped publication on 19 September 1870 almost a decade after launch of L'Osservatore Romano. During the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII, The Vatican acquired the paper's ownership in 1885.

20th century

The Osservatore continued to be published as a newspaper in Vatican City, but in 1904 Acta Sanctae Sedis which had existed since 1865, was declared the formal organ of the Holy See in that all documents printed in it were considered "authentic and official". [12] Acta Sanctae Sedis ceased publication four years later and on 29 September 1908 Acta Apostolicae Sedis became the official publication of the Holy See. [13]

The English weekly edition was first published on 4 April 1968. [10] On 7 January 1998, that edition became the first to be printed outside of Rome, when for North American subscribers, it began to be printed in Baltimore. [14] The edition was printed by the Cathedral Foundation, publishers of The Catholic Review . [14]

21st century

As of 1 July 2011, the English language edition of the L'Osservatore Romano for North American subscribers is once again published in Rome; [15] it had been published by the Cathedral Foundation of Baltimore since 1998. [14]

In the 21st century, the paper has taken a more objective and subdued stance than at the time of its foundation, priding itself in "presenting the genuine face of the church and the ideals of freedom", following the statement by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone in an October 2006 speech inaugurating a new exhibit dedicated to the founding and history of the newspaper. [16] He further described the publication as "an instrument for spreading the teachings of the successor of Peter and for information about church events". [16]

Official views of the Magisterium

It is a common error to assume that the contents of the L'Osservatore Romano represent the views of the Magisterium, or the official position of the Holy See. In general, this is not the case, and the only parts of the Osservatore which represent the views of the Holy See are those that appear under the titles "Nostre Informazioni" or "Santa Sede". [5] [6] At times the Magisterium disputes the contents of the Osservatore, e.g. a 2008 article expressed the desire that the debate on brain death be re‑opened because of new developments in the medical world. An official spokesman said that the article presented a personal opinion of the author and "did not reflect a change in the Catholic Church's position". [17]


Editors-in-chief [10]

See also

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  1. Home Page of Vatican City State. "Osservatore Romano". Vatican City State. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  2. 1 2 John Hooper, "Behind the scenes at the pope's newspaper" in The Guardian , 20 July 2009
  3. 1 2 "L'Osservatore Romano". Catholic World News. Trinity Publications. Archived from the original on 15 March 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  4. Burkle-Young, Francis A. (2000). Papal Elections in the Age of Transition, 1878-1922. Lexington Books. p. 72. ISBN   978-0-73910114-8.
  5. 1 2 Matthew Bunson, The Pope Encyclopedia: Crown Publishing, 1995 pp 229.
  6. 1 2 Philippe Levillain, The Papacy, An Encyclopedia Routledge Publishers 2002 pp 1082
  7. From Matthew 16:18: Et ego dico tibi quia tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam (Latin Vulgate).
  8. Pope Francis (27 June 2015). "Apostolic Letter Issued Motu Proprio by the Supreme Pontiff Francis for the Establishment of the Secretariat for Communication". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 27 December 2018.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. McElwee, Joshua (27 June 2015). "Francis creates Secretariat to elevate, consolidate Vatican communications". Vatican Insider. La Stampa. National Catholic Reporter. Archived from the original on 27 December 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "The origins of "L'Osservatore Romano"". L'Osservatore Romano. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
  11. "L'Osservatore Romano to be published in India". Catholic News Agency. 2 April 2007. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
  12. Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Acta Sanctæ Sedis"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  13. Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church ISBN   978-0-19-280290-3, article Acta Apostolicae Sedis
  14. 1 2 3 Stiehm, Jamie (13 January 1998). "Newspaper for Vatican published in Baltimore". The Baltimore Sun . Retrieved 5 November 2011. For the first time, the Vatican newspaper's presses are rolling outside of Rome—and beginning operations in Baltimore. ... The newspaper's Jan. 7 issue, the first printed here, was sent to 2,500 subscribers in the United States by the Cathedral Foundation, the center of Catholic church works in Baltimore. ... Now, nearly two centuries later, Internet technology is being used to deliver the pope's official publication faster to American readers. Making all the logistical arrangements to publish the Vatican newspaper—also technically a government document—in Baltimore was a yearlong project...The weekly, in the format of a 12‑page tabloid, is scheduled to be printed and mailed every Wednesday, reaching North American readers more rapidly than it previously did by air or ship from Rome.
  15. "Notice to our subscribers in the U.S. and in Canada". L'Osservatore Romano. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  16. 1 2 Glatz, Carol (27 October 2006). "L'Osservatore Romano: 145 years as 'genuine face of the church'". Vatican Letter. Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
  17. Wooden, Cindy (30 September 2008). "Vatican newspaper says new questions raised about brain death". Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on 9 September 2008. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  18. 1 2 Glatz, Carol (18 December 2018). "Pope names Italian journalists to key posts in Vatican communications". National Catholic Reporter. Catholic News Service. Retrieved 27 December 2018.

Further reading

Coordinates: 41°54′19″N12°27′25″E / 41.90528°N 12.45694°E / 41.90528; 12.45694