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Vatican Radio presents digital archive of Popes’ voices

Entitled “The Voice of the Popes,” a digital archive containing over 8000 audio […]

Entitled “The Voice of the Popes,” a digital archive containing over 8000 audio recordings featuring the voice of all the Popes from Pius XI through to Francis was unveiled at Vatican Radio on Tuesday. The presentation comes in the run-up to the canonization ceremony for Popes John XXIII and John Paul II on April 27th.

Vatican Radio’s Director General Father Federico Lombardi says the digitalization was carried out in order to prevent damage from wear and tear and guarantee a better preservation of the material for posterity. The new digital system will also allow the archiving of audio material and metadata in a far more efficient and stream-lined fashion. The oldest recordings date from 1931 when Vatican Radio was set up during the pontificate of Pius XI.

The digital archive was compiled using audio sources that ranged from old 78 records, magnetic tape, to CDs and includes sound from over 23,000 different events. Father Lombardi spoke of how Vatican Radio is the custodian of the voice of all the Popes, saying its mission is to preserve these recordings and ensure the Radio’s property rights are protected when the sound material is used by third parties.

Among those present at the news conference on Tuesday was Guido Gusso, Pope John XXIII’s valet and Dean of the Hall of the Papal Antechamber under Pope John Paul II who shared anecdotes with those present about his memories of serving the two Popes. Gusso said he recalled Pope John XXIII’s disappointment when in the evening shortly after his election he looked out of the window from the Apostolic Palace and saw a deserted St. Peter’s Square.

 

 

 


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