VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is not publishing the full texts of the Pope’s daily homilies because it wants to avoid giving them a level of authority that is not intended.
“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,” Vatican Press Office director Father Federico Lombardi said May 30.
He explained that, while the full text of Pope Francis’ public events is made available, the daily homilies are only summarized because of “the character of the situation and the spontaneity and familiarity of the Pope’s remarks.”
Pope Francis wants to retain the familiar atmosphere that characterizes the daily Mass, which is typically attended by a small number of the faithful. For that reason, Father Lombardi said, the Pope has specifically requested that the live video and audio not be broadcast.
Another contributing factor to the decision is the fact that the Holy Father is not a native Italian speaker, the press director said.
The demand from the public for the full version of the Pope’s daily homilies in the chapel of St. Martha’s House has been high.
So, in order to respect both the circumstances and the requests from the public, the Vatican decided to have its news outlets attend and summarize the essentials of the homily.
After “careful consideration,” Father Lombardi said in his May 30 statement, “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 flavor of the Pope’s expressions.”
Father Lombardi explained that “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.”