.- Benedict XVI has written a letter to Giovanni Maria Vian for the occasion of his appointment as director of "L'Osservatore Romano," a role, the Pope writes, that is "of great responsibility because of the particular nature of the Vatican newspaper."
The Pope praises the new director's "profound cultural formation as a historian of Christianity" and his "knowledge of the history of the modern papacy." Since the year 1861, the Holy Father notes, L'Osservatore Romano "has made known the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs and the contributions of their closest collaborators concerning the crucial problems humanity encounters on its journey."
Throughout the 20th century the publication of various language editions ensured the newspaper "had a truly international circulation" and gave it "a world dimension which ... is extremely important in truly expressing the reality of the Universal Church and the communion of all the local Churches, ... in a context of sincere friendship towards the women and men of our time.
"Seeking and creating opportunities for encounter," the Pope adds, "L'Osservatore Romano will be able to serve the Holy See ever more effectively, demonstrating the fecundity of the meeting between faith and reason, thanks to which cordial collaboration between believers and non- believers becomes possible."
The newspaper's fundamental task, the Holy Father concludes, "obviously remains that of favoring, in the cultures of our time, a trusting and at the same time profoundly reasonable openness to the Transcendent, upon which, in the final instance, rests respect for the dignity and the authentic freedom of each human being."