Jesuit Fr Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, which has just launched a series of international editions, agrees that the magazine is a "barometer of the Church", in an interview with La Croix International.
Fr Spadaro: It is a barometer because it enables us to have a global vision of the Church over the course of the years. Since its foundation in 1850, La Civiltà Cattolica has always been linked to history, that of Italy which was not yet a nation, and that of the Church, and particularly that of the popes. The magazine has always reflected the feeling of the Church with respect to the time in which it was situated.
Do you see it as an avant-garde magazine concerning papal teaching or more as moving alongside the popes?
There is no single isolated line. However, La Civiltà Cattolica has always been linked to the Holy See. While the Secretariat of State normally reads the proofs, each pope has had a different relationship with the magazine. John XXIII himself read the proofs. Paul VI was close to the magazine and read it every week. Let's say it is an authorised magazine that has always been in harmony with the thought of the Holy See.
That does not stop it from being attacked regularly.
That is part of the very identity of the magazine. In preparing the 4000th edition, I looked at the 3000th edition. The editorial could very well have been written today! At the time, Pope Paul VI and the Church were also under attack. In fact, these attacks are a privilege because, through us, it is Pope Francis who is being attacked.