Pope shakes up Vatican communications operations


VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis announced Tuesday a shakeup of the Vatican’s communications operations, replacing the longtime editor of the Holy See newspaper and naming a prominent Italian journalist to coordinate the editorial line of all Vatican media.

Andrea Tornielli, Vatican reporter for Turin daily La Stampa, was named to the new position of editorial director for the Dicastery of Communications, responsible for coordinating the Vatican’s editorial operations.

In addition, the Vatican named an Italian writer and professor, Andrea Monda, to become editor of L’Osservatore Romano newspaper. He replaces Giovanni Maria Vian, a church historian and journalist who has headed the daily since 2007.

The Vatican’s media operations have been undergoing a problematic reform process aimed at reducing redundancies and improving coordination. Among its victims was Vatican Radio and its vast multilingual broadcasts.

The first head of the revamped umbrella communications office, which gathered all Vatican media under one department, was forced to resign earlier this year after he misrepresented a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI and released a doctored photo of it.

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Francis named Paolo Ruffini, who had led the broadcaster of the Italian bishops’ conference, to replace him — the first time a layman had been named to head a Holy See department. In a statement Tuesday, Ruffini said both Tornielli and Monda were bridge-builders who know how to speak to various generations and develop new means of communications.

Tornielli runs a must-read Vatican blog, Vatican Insider, and is the author of several books about Francis that benefited from access to the pope himself. Tornielli’s latest was a forensic critique of an 11-page document by a retired Vatican ambassador accusing Francis of covering up for a disgraced ex-American cardinal.

Monda, for his part, has taught religion and literature at various pontifical universities since 2000 and has written cultural articles for Italian Catholic publications, the Vatican said.

L’Osservatore Romano, with its storied 150-year history and daily and weekly editions, had sought to retain a certain editorial independence from the rest of the Vatican’s other media operations during the reform.

Under Vian’s leadership, the paper broadened its cultural coverage and launched a women’s monthly magazine, “Women Church World,” among other things.

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