West & Central Africa

African Catholics demand continuation of Vatican Radio.

The Catholic Church in Africa have called on the Vatican to restore its shortwave radio service to Africa which was discontinued in 2012. The explanation given at the time by Father Federico Lombardi, director
general of the Vatican broadcast service, was that shortwave was being replaced by webcasting and satellite transmissions along with rebroadcasting by local, regional and national radio stations guaranteed the widest possible outreach for Vatican Radio.

African Catholics, through the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), which was held 9 March in Accra, Ghana, argued that the shortwave broadcasts, “afforded millions of Africans the opportunity to hear (the) Holy Father and share in the Church’s concerns and mission.”

The plans to discontinue Vatican Radio’s short- and medium-wave transmissions was intended for Europe and the Americas which had embraced newer technologies.

The African Catholic Church said that Father Lombardi who started the transmission wanted the shortwave services continued for the good of the Church members not yet exposed to new technologies including the Internet.

“While recognizing that Vatican Radio services can still be received through the Internet… the fact that many Africans simply do not have the means or the technology to enjoy such services” and therefore “called for the restoration of the shortwave services as a means of sustaining the mission of evangelization on the African Continent.”

The African Standing Committee members“expressed deep acknowledgement and appreciation for the role which Vatican Radio has played over many decades in the evangelization of Africa and the task of catechesis and spiritual development of African peoples” in their message to Vatican Radio authorities.“They noted that Vatican Radio has always been a credible source for accessing news about the Universal Church and a ready channel for sharing news about Africa with the rest of the world.”

African Catholics are estimated to be more than 150 million in Africa. Nigeria has the catholic’s world’s largest seminary.

There have been reports that there is “an agreement with Facebook through which the pope’s messages will be brought to 44 countries by cellphone, through an app.”

Since its birth in 1931, Vatican Radio has played a significant role in bringing the Church’s message to different parts of the globe.