New Italian Magazine to Focus on Pope Francis

Image: New Italian Magazine to Focus on Pope Francis

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 08:36 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Pope Francis is getting his own glossy magazine — if the Vatican doesn't shut down the publication over copyright issues.

Il Mio Papa (My Pope) is coming out on Italian newsstands on Ash Wednesday, The New York Times reported. Its editor, Aldo Vitali, said the weekly will consist of papal pronouncements, along with photographs, peeks into the pontiff's personal life, and even a pullout centerfold of the Pope.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

Vitali describes it as "a sort of fanzine," but "more respectful, more noble as of course it can't be like something you'd do for One Direction."

The magazine will debut with an initial print run of 500,000 copies and is being sold at an equivalent of about 50 cents a copy. Il Mio Papa is part of the Mondadori publishing house, owned by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the Religion News Service reported.

Mondadori says it hopes to sell around 3 million copies of the magazine in its first month, or about 750,000 each week, making the papal publication one of its top sellers.

But Mondadori may run into trouble with the Vatican over his new publication, The Times reported. In 2009, the Holy See declared that "it alone has the right" to protect the figure and identity of the Pope, along with the papal cope of arms, from activities "which have little or nothing to do with the Catholic Church."

In addition, the Vatican has recently issued a statement that the Vatican's publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, owns the copyright to the Pope's writings.

"In the case they [Il Mio Papa] publish the Pope's words, I will have to intervene," the Rev. Giuseppe Costa, director of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, told The Times.

Other magazines publish Pope Francis' teachings, but have an accord with the Vatican,  Costa said.

Vitali, who also is editor of Italy's top weekly magazine, TV Sorrisi e Canzoni, said that the magazine is called "My Pope" because everybody feels Francis speaks to them personally.

L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s daily newspaper, is for now the only publication regularly covering the Pope. Its editor in chief, Giovanni Maria Vian, said that the new weekly appears to be targeting "a broad public that doesn’t have time or the desire to delve very deeply, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be positive.”

Vitali said the magazine isn't intended to make money off Pope Francis' extensive popularity, which has led to his being named Time magazine's Person of the Year and to making the cover of Rolling Stone, along with attracting record numbers of people everywhere he goes.

"It’s not a cult of personality — we want to use the Pope as an example" for living a better life, Vitali told The Times, saying the publication won't be printing gossip or paparazzi photos.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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