The L’Osservatore Romano has been the official daily paper of the Vatican for many years. Official Church documents get published in it but this newspaper has never won any awards for either openness or technical competence. Now, suddenly we see a change. The editor is Mr. Giovanni Maria Vian and the paper has a dramatically improved appearance. It offers an excellent daily synthesis of international news and has timely essays on history and theology that are truly first-rate. According to John Allen, the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, he states that under Vian, “reading the paper’s lines has become just as worthwhile as reading between them.”
This is real progress and we can all be thankful. The Church has a bad record of not being forthright in its communication with the world around it. Maybe the improvements in L’Osservatore Romano will spread out into all areas of Vatican communication. This is a hopeful sign and a step in the right direction.
I have mentioned in this space before that Church leaders frequently have a destructive preoccupation with secrecy. In my opinion, the main reason for that is that they are fearful that the rank and file in the Church cannot handle scandal. That is really a rather silly evaluation because the people have been handling scandal since the time of the apostles on through to the present day. Scandals will always be among us but foolish efforts to cover them up always greatly magnify the evil that is present.
Again, my heartfelt congratulations to the new L’Osservatore Romano.