Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. as the new director of the Holy See Press Office. Fr. Lombardi will replace Joaquin Navarro-Valls who was appointed by Pope John Paul II in 1984.
Fr. Lombardi expressed his gratitude to the Holy Father in a letter this morning and greeted all the members of the media who, he said, “I am called to serve.”
Lombardi, who is currently director general of the Vatican Television Center and of Vatican Radio, said he has, “been working for some time to ensure that the activity of the Holy Father and the reality of the Church are known and understood objectively and adequately.”
Benedict XVI accepted the resignation from the office of director of the Holy See Press Office presented by Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, thanking him for his long and generous service. The long-time friend and adjutant of John Paul II had been hinting at his retirement from the post over the last month.
Navarro-Valls thanked the Holy Father this morning and recalled the gift of his ministry. “I know that I have, over these years, received much more than I have been able to give, more than I am at present capable of fully comprehending,” he said in a statement.
Lombardi praised Navarro-Valls and said that while he cannot hope to imitate him, he is committed to serving the Holy Father and the good work of the press, with all of his energy.
Many Vatican experts see Lombardi's appointment as indicative of a slight shift in the roll of the Press Office Director. The priest, who will also remain in charge of Vatican TV and Radio, is considered to be an excellent adminstrator, but is not expected to be as visable as Navarro-Valls was.