Vatican media advisor will work behind the scenes

Greg Burke, the newly-appointed Vatican media advisor, says he has no illusions about “going in and changing everything”.

“My hope is to try and help the Holy See take the necessary steps to go in the right direction,” he said after accepting what he describes as a “high risk” appointment.

Burke took on the job as media advisor to the Vatican Secretary of State — a new role conceived in the light of the Vatileaks scandal and various public relations mishaps — after turning it down twice.

The 52-year-old American has worked as a journalist in Rome for 24 years — for the National Catholic Register, Time magazine and Fox News.

A member of Opus Dei since he was 18, he is a numerary — a celibate layman who lives at an Opus Dei centre in Rome.

“When the Vatican explained to me what my role would be, the position which immediately sprung to mind was the White House communications director,” he said.

“In this case, the spokesman does all the public appearances and then there is another figure who works behind the scenes to come up with the strategies: how to formulate a given message, how to get it across, when and where.”

Father John Wauck, a professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome and a friend of the new Vatican media advisor, described him as “a lay person, from the professional world, who understands how theologians think and shares their faith….

“Plus, he’s well respected and genuinely liked by the journalists in Rome.”

While Burke works with the Vatican Secretariat of State, Father Federico Lombardi will continue in the role of official spokesman for the Holy See.


Vatican Insider

National Catholic Register

Washington Post

Image: Vatican Insider

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