The Vatican has unveiled a new tool for evangelization in the form of a van equipped with 17 high-definition cameras for live and outdoor broadcasting.
The Holy See's Vatican Television Center received the state-of-the-art van from Sony on Nov. 16.
Fr. Federico Lombardi, head of the Vatican Press Office, said the new mobile broadcasting unit was a much-needed upgrade. He noted that it has previously taken three smaller trucks to carry the same number of cameras, without the benefit of high-definition technology.
He also noted the increasing use of high-definition video for documentaries and television programs. Thus, the Vatican spokesman explained, a switch to high-definition was “a necessary step” to ensure the Church's media presence.
“Otherwise,” he said, “the image of the Pope would gradually have disappeared from television screens during the coming years.”
Vatican Television currently broadcasts around 200 live programs every year, including celebrations in St. Peter's Square, the Pope's recitation of the Angelus and his accompanying talks, and some live concerts.
The Knights of Columbus covered nearly a quarter of the $6 million cost for the new broadcasting van.
Carl Anderson, the fraternal order's Supreme Knight, said he was grateful for the opportunity to help the Vatican broadcast the Gospel message.
Citing the example of Jesus' own public speeches and the journeys of the apostles, he said there was “an unbroken Catholic tradition of bringing Christ to the greatest number of people possible, in the clearest manner available.”
High-definition television, Anderson said, is becoming a important forum for ideas and culture. He observed that while technology and social conditions change, and lead the Church to propose its message in new ways, the message itself is unchanging.
“It is our hope that this new technology in the service of evangelization will serve as a conduit,” he announced, “bringing to every corner of the earth the word of God ... in the most technologically clear and advanced manner that has ever been possible, and transforming the lives of countless people.”
Archbishop Claudio M. Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, reported that his office had not yet chosen a name for the new high-definition broadcasting service.
But he was effusive about the technology's potential, calling the update “the latest act … to create frank, open dialogue” on a “technologically sophisticated plane.” Archbishop Celli also mentioned a possible future project, geared toward consolidating multiple Vatican news sources into one.
Fr. Lombardi said that after a series of “final modifications,” the van “should be up and running in time for Christmas.”