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Top officials of Vatican press office resign

Saying they thought Pope Francis should be “completely free to assemble a new team” for Vatican communications “at this time of transition,” the director of the Vatican press office announced he and the vice director had resigned.

Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Greg Burke and Paloma Garcia Ovejero, the press office announced on 31st December. The pope appointed Alessandro Gisotti, co-ordinator of social media at the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, to serve as interim director of the press office.

Neither of the outgoing journalists issued a formal statement, but Burke, 59, a former US television news correspondent, tweeted the comment about it being the right time for the pope to assemble a new team.

Paolo Ruffini, appointed prefect in July, said in a statement that resigning was “their autonomous and free choice.”

“Their significant commitment has contributed to the process of reform that to be carried to completion – as they themselves say – requires a rapid passing of the baton in the spirit of service to the Church that we all share.”

Pope Francis created the Secretariat for Communication in 2015 to streamline and co-ordinate the Vatican’s many news and communications outlets, including the press office. The Vatican has since changed its name to the Dicastery for Communication.

The pope named Burke and Ovejero, 43, to the press office positions in July 2016.

Gisotti, 44, had been a journalist and editor for Vatican Radio before its incorporation into the new dicastery. He is the author or editor of several books and has been co-ordinator of social media for the dicastery since 2017.

Earlier in December, Pope Francis had named Andrea Tornielli, an Italian journalist, as “editorial director” of the dicastery and Andrea Monda, an Italian journalist and religion teacher, as editor-in-chief of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Picture: 2013 archive picture showing visitors of the Vatican walking across St Peter’s Square in Rome, Italy. (Bernd von Jutrczenka/DPA/PA).

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OTHER NEWS

Google searches for ‘prayer’ skyrocket amid Covid-19 pandemic

Google searches for ‘prayer’ have surged worldwide as cases of Covid-19 have grown. The rising interest in seeking information about ‘prayer’ on Google ‘skyrocketed in March when the virus went global’, wrote Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, an associate professor at the...

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Cardinal George Pell has been released from prison after 405 days behind bars after the seven judges of the High Court of Australia unanimously overturned the original December 2018 jury verdict that found him guilty on five counts of molesting two 13-year-old...

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Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic found guilty of child sex abuse, has welcomed the Australian High Court's decision to quash his convictions. Pope Francis' former finance minister had spent 13 months in prison but seven judges ruled unanimously on...

Pope establishes coronavirus emergency fund for mission territories

Pope Francis established an emergency fund to help communities in the Catholic Church's mission territories affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The pope has given an initial contribution of $750,000 and asked Church organisations to contribute to the fund, which...