The International Telematic University UNINETTUNO has just made available to researchers a series of religious newsreels relating to the activity of Pope Pius XII in the 1950s, thereby shedding new light on the Church during the pontificate of Eugenio Pacelli.
As desired by Pope Francis, the recent opening of the Vatican archives for the years relating to the reign of Pius XII has placed the pontificate of Eugenio Pacelli at the center of the attention of historians.
The outlines of the first example of a “world pontificate” emerge in the background, due to the geopolitical intensity of the challenges encountered: the rise of totalitarianisms and mass culture which - as Hannah Arendt explains well - is its corollary, the leaps made by technical progress, and secularization.
It is in this context that UNINETTUNO University has just digitized under the title “Rome in the World” a series of cinematographic newsreels produced between 1955 and 1960 by San Paolo Film.
News exclusively devoted to events affecting the Church in the world, with a section dedicated to the activities of the Sovereign Pontiff and the Holy See.
The goal then was to show the universality of the Church of Rome through chronicles of different types, aiming to make very evident the capillarity of the diffusion of the Catholic word in order to legitimize the role covered by the Holy See in the concert of nations.
The newsreels filmed were purposely published in five languages, and regularly sent to several European and American television stations.
The content of this news also provides an unprecedented glimpse into the Church of the second half of the 1950s, highlighting the complex relationship between the papacy and the media on the eve of the Second Vatican Council.
The “change of style” adopted by Pope John XXIII, who ascended the throne of Peter in 1958, was widely staged.
The long-term objective of this restoration and digitization project is the creation of a digital library which, starting from this first series of newsreels, will be entirely devoted to the relationship between Catholicism and the media.
Thanks to agreements concluded among the various curators, the digital library will be able to provide an access space that can be used by the entire scientific community wishing to deepen their knowledge of the last part of Eugenio Pacelli’s pontificate.