Letter from Rome

Pope Francis scrambles to get his media team back on message
Letter from Rome

A file image of Pope Francis next to the then Vatican spokesman Greg Burke during a flight from Rome to Malmo, Sweden, on Oct. 31, 2016. (Photo by Ettore Ferrari/AFP)

The sudden and unforeseen resignations of the Holy See press office director and his deputy have caused quite a buzz in the Vatican and throughout much of the Catholic media.

In case you are one of the few people that have still not heard, Greg Burke and Paloma García Ovejero surprised even top Vatican officials early on New Year's Eve when they announced, out of the blue, that they were stepping away from the key positions that Pope Francis assigned them in July 2016.

"Paloma and I have resigned, effective Jan. 1," Burke tweeted at noon on Dec. 31.

"At this time of transition in Vatican communications, we think it's best the Holy Father is completely free to assemble a new team," he continued, offering the only explanation up to now as to what prompted the move.

Burke, a 59-year-old American and non-married member of Opus Dei, and Ovejero, a 43-year-old Spaniard who is part of the Neocatechumenal Way, are journalists who covered the Vatican in the years before they became Vatican employees.

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Many of the writers who have been commenting on their resignations know both of them well. So, it is not surprising that most of the commentary has been sympathetic to a couple of former colleagues and full of praise for their attempts to modernize and improve the work of the Holy See press office.

But, as always, this is not the whole story. Not in the least.

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