If you want to hear the voices of the pope who was in 1884, well here is your chance because the Vatican said that all 8000 tapes from the Vatican Radio’s pontifical archives, have been digitized.
These recordings have been digitized and can be found online to anyone ahead of the canonization of Pope John Paul II on 17 April.
The initiative was launched as part of preparations for the sainting of John Paul II and John XXIII (1958-63) on 17 April, in the first double papal canonization ceremony in Church history.
Radio Vatican has been storing its unique patrimony since it was set up under Pope Pius XI in 1931, but it has also older recordings, such as Leo XIII’s Humanum Genus encyclical, which the pontiff recorded on a Dictaphone in 1884.
Other highlights include Paul VI’s anguished words following the kidnapping and murder of Italian prime minister Aldo Moro in May 1978, culminating in his public address to God: “You did not grant our plea for the safety of Aldo Moro, of this good and gentle man… who was my friend.”
John Paul II’s emotionally-charged attack in 1993 on the mafia’s “culture of death” following a spate of high-profile killings can be listened to again, as can Benedict XVI’s 2013 resignation speech, where he said he “will simply be a pilgrim starting the last phase of his pilgrimage on this earth”.
John Paul I, who lived for just 33 days, can be heard at one of the few Angelus prayers he led describing the terror he felt as he realised the conclave of cardinals had decided to elect him as pope.
“As soon as the danger began, two colleagues near me whispered words of courage. One said: ‘Be strong! If the Lord gives you a weight, he also helps you carry it”, said the man known among Italians by the nickname “The smile of God”.