Vatican hires Fox News flunky, Opus Dei activist, to run PR — Har!

The Vatican, stung by communications blunders and mired in a leaks scandal, has hired an American journalist from Fox News and member of the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei to help improve its relations with the media…

Greg Burke, Fox’s Rome-based roving correspondent for Europe and the Middle East, will assume the new post of “senior communications adviser” to the Secretariat of State, the key department in the Vatican’s central bureaucracy.

Burke, 52, a native of St Louis, Missouri, has been working for Fox for 10 years…

He will report directly to the Vatican’s deputy secretary of state, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the third-ranking person in the Vatican hierarchy. Father Federico Lombardi will remain spokesman…

I’ve had a lot of diverse media experience that I hope I can put to use for the Church that I love,” Burke said…

The pontificate of Pope Benedict, which began in 2005, has been mired in a difficult relationship with the media…

Communications disasters for the Vatican have included the Pope’s decision in 2009 to lift the excommunication of a traditionalist bishop who was later discovered to have denied the full extent of the Holocaust.

Another public relations nightmare for the Vatican came in 2006 when Muslims around the world interpreted a speech by the pope at Regensburg, Germany as an attack on Islam.

Burke’s appointment puts control of Public Relations for the Pope back in the grasp of Opus Dei. Joaquin Navarro-Valls was the front man for Pope John-Paul before Benedict and was removed and replaced by the Francisan Federico Lombardi.

This move puts the rightwing of the Catholic Church firmly back in control of the voice of the papacy. I wonder if Fox News and Rupert Murdoch will get even more special treatment than they get, now? Better yet – will Fox News expand their support for the backwards lockstep march of the Church of Rome demanding strict obedience to useless doctrine?

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