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Pope Francis appoints American journalist as new Vatican spokesman

Diane Montagna - published on 07/11/16

Spanish laywoman tapped as his number two

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has appointed American journalist and former Fox News correspondent, Greg Burke, as the new Director of the Holy See Press Office effective August 1, the Vatican announced on Monday.

The appointment comes after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of longtime Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ. Lombardi was appointed as Director of the Holy See Press Office by Pope Benedict XVI exactly 10 years ago, on July 11, 2006.

Pope Francis has also named a Spanish laywoman, Paloma García Ovejero, as Vice Director, making her one of the Vatican’s most visible female officials to date. It the first time a laywoman has been appointed to the position.

Both appointments are seen as part of a continuing overhaul of Vatican communications.

Along with Monday’s announcement, the Vatican released the following information on Burke and Ovejero.

Greg Burke

Greg Burke

Gregory Joseph Burke was born on November 8, 1959 in Saint Louis, Missouri, into a practicing Roman Catholic family. After attending Jesuit-run schools in his home city, he graduated from Columbia University School of Journalism. Burke is a numerary of Opus Dei.

Before coming to Rome, Burke worked for Chicago’s United Press International, Reuters and the Metropolitan. First sent to Rome as Vatican Correspondent for the National Catholic Register, in 1990 Burke began working for Time, and in 2001 became a correspondent for Fox News. In 2012, he was named Senior Communications Advisor for the Vatican, and has served as Vice Director of the Holy See Press Office since 2015.

Burke speaks English, Italian, Spanish and French.

Paloma García Ovejero

Paloma García Ovejero

Paloma García Ovejero was born in Madrid, Spain on August 12, 1975. After graduating in journalism from the Complutense University of Madrid in 1998, she obtained a master’s degree in Basque Studies (2001) and a specialization in Management Strategies and Communication at New York University, in 2006.

Since 1998,  Ovejero has served as chief editor and presenter of the Spanish Radio Broadcaster, COPE. Since September 2012, she has also served as Rome correspondent other television stations and newspapers.

Ovejero speaks Spanish, English, Italian and Chinese.

Diane Montagna is Rome correspondentfor Aleteia’s English edition.

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Pope Francis
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