VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican Television Center has acquired and can distribute hundreds of hours of television images of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires from 2005 until his election as Pope Francis in March.

The images were filmed by Canal 21, the television station owned by the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires; the images include Masses and the celebration of sacraments, public speeches, visits to the city’s poorest neighborhoods and to hospitals and prisons, televised ecumenical and interreligious discussions and religious processions.


Msgr. Dario Vigano, director of the Vatican Television Center, and Julio Rimoldi, director of Canal 21, announced the agreement June 27 at a Vatican news conference.

Father Vigano said he and Rimoldi had met with Pope Francis to discuss the agreement, and Pope Francis issued a brief statement expressing his approval.

The distribution of the images, the pope said, is a “concrete way to make known … the reality of the church in Buenos Aires.”

“The use of images can help build bridges,” he said, “making us less strange to each other and increasing communion.”

Canal 21 was founded in 2005, seven years into Cardinal Bergoglio’s ministry as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Rimoldi told reporters that Cardinal Bergoglio seldom, if ever, watched television, but recognized its potential as an evangelization tool.