Nino Lo Bello, The Vatican Empire, “The Vatican’s Expenses XI:”
Unknown to most people, even regular listeners to Vatican Radio, is the fact that during the early morning hours of each day the office of the Vatican’s secretary of state broadcasts messages—some of them in code—to priests, nuncios, apostolic delegates, and cardinals in all parts of the world. Each Church dignitary knows about what time to expect special announcements pertaining to his region. He also receives coded signals from the Vatican to remind him of the “date” he has with his receiver.
In contrast with other stations, Vatican Radio often communicates private messages that will not be understood by anyone but the papal representative for whom they are intended. One might, for instance, hear something like this: “Father Tizio, with reference to the information in your letter of the eighth of September, re the peasant woman who sees visions of the Virgin Mary, we have considered your suggestion, but suggest that ad captandum vulgus. . . .”
Several years ago, when N.B.C. correspondent Irving R. Levine visited the station and was told that there was such a daily transmission to the United States, he asked in jest, “Is that when Cardinal Spellman gets his orders from the Vatican?”
The staff member who was acting as Levine’s guide replied with a grin, “No, sir, it’s just the other way around!”