Lombardi: Note on daily Mass homilies

2013-05-30 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) On account of the great interest expressed in Pope Francis’ homilies at morning Mass, many people have asked about the possibility of receiving the full text of those homilies, and not just the summaries published by L’Osservatore Romano and Vatican Radio.

In a brief note, Father Lombardi, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, has explained the decision to publish partial syntheses of the Holy Father’s homily, rather than the full text.

Pope Francis, he said, wants to retain the familiar atmosphere that characterises the daily Mass, which is typically attended by a small number of the faithful. “For that reason,” Fr. Lombardi said, the Holy Father has specifically requested that the live video and audio not be broadcast.

The Pope’s daily homily, Fr. Lombardi said, is delivered spontaneously, and not from a written text, and in Italian – a language Pope Francis knows well, but which is not his mother tongue. An integral, or official, text, would necessarily have to be transcribed and slightly reworked, given the differences between a written work and the homilies’ original oral form. In short, he said, there would have to be a revision by the Holy Father himself – but this would clearly result in something that differs from what the Holy Father intends in his daily homily.

Father Lombardi went on to explain how the Holy See has resolved the question:

“We must insist on the fact that, in all of the Pope’s activities, the difference between different situations and celebrations, as well as the different levels of authority of his words, must be understood and respected. So, for the Pope’s public celebrations or activities, broadcast live on television and radio, the sermons or speeches are transcribed and published in full. During smaller, more familiar celebrations and functions, we have to pay attention to the character of the situation, and the spontaneity and familiarity of the Pope’s remarks. The solution respects both the intention of the Pope and the nature of the morning Mass, on the one hand; and, on the other hand, the desire to give the wider public the opportunity to hear the message of the Holy Father even in such circumstances.

“And so, after careful consideration, it seems the best way to make the richness of the Pope’s homilies accessible to a wide audience, without altering the nature of his remarks, is to publish a detailed summary, rich in direct quotations that reflect the genuine flavour of the Pope’s expressions. L’Osservatore Romano undertakes this responsibility every day. Vatican Radio, on account of the nature of the medium, offers a shorter synthesis, including some of the original sound, while CTV offers a video clip corresponding to one of the audio inserts published by Vatican Radio.