Vatican's Press Directors Resign

Dennis Jarvis is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Pope Francis will shortly appoint a team to do their work

Pope Francis received his first jolt of 2019 when Greg Burke, the spokesman for the Vatican and Paloma Garcia Ovejero, his deputy, abruptly resigned from their posts. The two simultaneous resignations have signaled that the pontiff’s attempt to reform the out-of-sync Vatican bureaucracy was not going well. Francis continues to struggle to give coherent replies to worldwide sex abuse allegations and the toe squirming cover-up scandal which may imperil his own legacy. Burke was a correspondent for Fox TV in Rome when he was snagged by the Vatican to be a communications advisor for the Secretariat of State in the Vatican in 2012.

Vatican insiders familiar with the duo said both Burke and Ovejero were frustrated after many years of trying but failing to modernize the Holy See’s anachronistic and clearly antiquated communications department. They wanted to convince the top papal authorities of the vital importance of communication in the 21st century.

Both resignations have been accepted by the pope. He has already appointed Alessandro Gisotti, a long-term Vatican employee, to substitute Burke for the temporary period of time until a successor gets appointed to the post.

Many in the Vatican were surprised by the resignations. One of them was Paolo Ruffini, in-charge of the brand new Dicastery of Communication. He expressed surprise but then said he respects their decision, adding that the coming days could have important events and may need communication expertise to manage them. Such a comment may refer to the clergy sex abuse summit which the pope will convene in February and also multiple foreign trips scheduled in 2019. Francis will fly to a diverse range of countries from Panama, Morocco, Bulgaria, the United Arab Emirates, and Macedonia, the birth country of Mother Teresa.

It is believed by well-informed sources such resignations were not sudden affairs and does not have any bearing on the overhauls announced inside the Vatican communications chain. The pope has recently sacked the editor of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. He has also appointed Andrea Tornielli, an Italian journalist, to be the new editorial content director.

The pope continues to get flak from the clergy abuse scandal not only in the United States but from other parts of the world. It is believed that 2019 will be the year when a canonical investigation will be done into Theodore McCarrick, the American ex-Cardinal who was accused by many for sexual abuse of adult seminarians and minors in the United States.

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