ucanews.com reporter, Vatican City
Updated: February 10, 2017 09:15 AM GMT
Pope Francis greets Father Michael Kelly SJ, executive director of ucanews.com on the occasion of receiving the English edition of La Civilta Cattolica, at the Vatican Feb. 9. (Photo © L'Osservatore Romano)
In a first for UCAN, Pope Francis was presented with its latest publishing initiative — La Civilta Cattolica in English — at an event in the Vatican to celebrate the periodical's 4000th edition in Italian and its first in the English, Spanish, French and Korean languages.
In welcoming the English edition produced by UCAN and three other language editions of La Civilta Cattolica, the pope said the journal is unique as "the only magazine of its kind in its service to the Holy See. May it continue to be a bridge-builder, at the frontiers and of a journal of discernment."
The pope was speaking during an an audience to the writers and collaborators of the magazine Feb. 9 at the Vatican. Before Pope Francis, Pope Leo XIII in 1892, Pope Pius XI in 1933 and Pope Paul VI in 1975 celebrated the previous thousand number issues. Over the years, 12 popes have addressed messages and discourses directly to the priest writers of the magazine noted for its special "harmony" with the Apostolic See.
The launch of the new monthly — in print and all electronic forms — is the culmination of six months work setting up the translation, editing, production and marketing resources to support a multinational activity.
In 1850, Pope Pius IX gave the task of publishing of La Civilta Cattollica to the Italian Jesuits. Over 167 years, the publication that runs to over 100 pages per edition, has appeared in 24 editions a year.
It is a highly popular and non-specialist review of religion and theology, culture and science, literature and art, politics and society.
The distinctive feature of the publication is its reputation for being the best barometer of thinking inside the Vatican. This reputation developed because each edition is published after being read and approved by the Vatican's Secretariat of State.
From left: Sabine Larive form Parole et Silence in Paris, Father Michael Kelly SJ, executive director of ucanews.com, Raimund Herder from Herder Editorial Barcelona and Father Xavier Hwang Jeong Yeon SJ, the Korean publisher, with copies of La Civilta Cattollica at the Vatican Feb. 9. (Photo supplied)
This first edition in English contains material of broad interest to anyone following developments in the Catholic Church especially during this time of significant change:
The English edition, by Union of Catholic Asian News, appears at the same time as the other language editions, produced by two of the leading Catholic publishing houses in the world — Herder in Madrid for the Spanish edition and Parole et Silence in Paris for the French edition. The Korean language edition is edited by the Korean Province of the Society of Jesus.
These developments are part of an ambitious global publishing strategy conceived and developed by the Editor-in-chief of La Civilta Cattolica, Father Antonio Spadaro, SJ. The 50-year-old Sicilian is considered among the closest people to the present pope and a key commentator on his priorities and reforms.
To look more at the new English product, visit www.laciviltacattolica.com
According to a press communique from La Civilta Cattolica, translated from Italian, the magazine — always written only by Jesuits — experienced an important renewal in its graphic layout already in 2011 and then in a succession of innovations connected to its digital presence. Also, the writers have grown in number and geographic and cultural origins, it said.
"The multilingual dimension will not leave the identity of the magazine itself unchanged, precisely because, having readers in other languages and the demands of other countries and cultures will become part of its heart like never before," the communique said.
"Today the strong temptation is that of closing ranks and opposing the answer of an intransigent and identity Catholicism to the perceived chaos. Pope Francis since his election in 2013, has instead relaunched and enriched the mission of the magazine with meaning, synthesizing it with three key words: dialogue, discernment, frontier. For La Civilta Cattolica these three words have become a program to implement with faithfulness and attention," it added.