Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pope Francis names first American and first woman as his No. 1 and No. 2 spokespeople


"Pope Francis on Monday overhauled the staff that presents the public face of the Vatican, naming a former Fox and Time correspondent from St. Louis as his personal spokesman and director of the Vatican press office — the first American to hold that position. The pope also appointed a Spanish journalist to the second-in-command spot, the highest spot a woman has held in the church’s communications power structure...
Longtime Vatican analyst John Allen, with Crux, on Monday called Burke’s appointment a “Steph Curry” moment for Francis — a so-called three-pointer. The decision, Allen said, does three things: puts to rest the feeling that the Argentine pontiff is anti-American (or at least America-reticent), shows that he cares about competence in his high-level staff picks and gives a high spot to a Catholic of the more conservative bent. Burke is a member of Opus Dei, a more traditional Catholic community. Allen notes that Burke is a “numerary,” which in Opus Dei means a lay person who is celibate.
Pope John Paul II for many years had an Opus Dei layman as his spokesman, a man named Joaquin Navarro-Valls. He was seen as a powerful close adviser to the pope, unlike Lombardi, who is well-liked but often seen as unable to authoritatively decipher the intentions of Francis.
Allen said the choice of GarcĂ­a, a woman, is “in particular a game-changer. For a pope whose warnings against the dangers of clericalism have become the stuff of legend, this is a case in which Francis is, quite literally, putting his money where his mouth is.”

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