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Vatican Radio unveils ‘Voices of the Popes’ archive

Recordings of the voices of many former popes, including Benedict XVI, feature in the new archive (AP)

Vatican Radio has announced that it has finished compiling its ‘Voices of the Popes’ digital archive, which contains more than 8,000 audio recordings.

The archive, which features recordings of the voices of all the Popes from Pius XI to Francis, was unveiled at a press conference earlier today, as well as a number of even earlier recordings, including Leo XIII’s Humanum Genus encyclical, which the pontiff recorded on a dictaphone in 1884.

Father Federico Lombardi, director general of Vatican Radio, said the digitisation of the audio recordings was carried out to guarantee their preservation and that the more efficient and streamlined archiving system will allow improved access for scholars.

Some of the clips will be made available online to the public from April 27 – the date of the canonisation of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII.

The archive has been put together from a range of sources including records, tapes and CDs and sound from more than 23,000 different events.