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Vatican TV comes to Australia

Australian television audiences are now able to see a regular roundup of the activities of the Pope and the Vatican in “Octava Dies” (Eight Days) to be broadcast by Catholic Church TV on Aurora Community Television, starting from July 3, 2005.

The program will be seen on Channel 183 on the Foxtel Digital and Austar Subscription Services.

Many commentators and observers seemed surprised at the calibre and number of world leaders who attended recent papal events at the Vatican. For Vatican watchers, however, it came as no surprise at all.

On a weekly basis the Vatican maintains a regular schedule of high-powered diplomatic negotiations, representations to international bodies and participation in global forums.

“Vatican television has the exclusive rights to the news footage that comes out of this smallest sovereign state in the world”, said Fr Richard Leonard SJ, Director of Australia Catholic Television.

“In Octava Dies Vatican TV has packaged the footage into a weekly magazine program.

“We get everything from the audiences the Pope had with Spiritual Leaders, Heads of State and Government, arriving and departing Ambassadors, humanitarian delegations and church groups, to the Bishops on their five yearly ad limina visits, special Masses and liturgical ceremonies, beatifications and canonizations and conferences the Vatican is sponsoring, or participating in.”

One of the more unusual features of the show is the weekly profile and explanation of the work of a different Vatican department, from the diplomatic service and Pontifical Universities to the coin collection, tapestry workshop and museums.

“It opens up a world Australians know very little about, and with a new Pope the time has never been better for us to understand the complexity and richness of the modern papal ministry”, Fr Leonard said.

Released by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

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