Diane Montagna has the scoop:
Pope Francis has appointed American journalist 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. The Pope 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.
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John Allen offers some analysis:
Burke is a member of Opus Dei – in their parlance, a “numerary,” meaning a lay person who nevertheless is celibate – which is a Catholic group typically seen as fairly conservative. By conventional standards, Burke’s personal politics (which, by the way, have never interfered with his job) could probably best be described as center-right. At a time when some see Pope Francis as a liberal stacking the deck with like-minded progressives, this appointment runs counter to the stereotypes and invites observers to consider whether for Francis, it’s ultimately more the quality of the individual than their ideology that actually matters.