“It represents an enormous step on the international stage because, as you know, internet goes beyond space and time,” said Father Giuseppe Costa, the director of the Vatican’s publishing house Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
“The message of the Holy Father will now be received in every part of the world.”
The American technology firm will now work alongside the Vatican to produce eBooks and iTunes tracks of the Pope Benedict’s weekly general audience.
In recent months the pontiff has used his weekly address to explore the theme of prayer in the story of salvation. His latest volume, “Prayer in the New Testament,” is already available in print form. The new eBook format will be accompanied by illustrations from the Vatican’s art collections.
“The illustrations are of great value also in the electronic version as the reader can access the book as they like. They can zoom in and out to examine the images and compare them with the texts for their own personal meditation,” Fr. Costa explained.
Initially the commercial agreement with Apple will only focus on the Pope’s weekly catechesis. But the Vatican publishing house says that if this initial project proves popular, then more of Pope Benedict XVI’s extensive catalogue of writings could be offered electronically.
Meanwhile, Fr. Costa promises that the new eBooks will be both “a beautiful artencyclopedia” and “a wonderful path of spirituality.”
With first editions already available in Italian, the U.S. bishops’ conference is now collaborating with the Vatican to bring the same books to the world in English.