Jul 13, 2012
“Smart move.” That’s how many loyal Catholics reacted to the announcement that the Vatican had hired a veteran American newsman as a consultant to grapple with its communication problems.
In many respects, the reaction was correct. As an experienced professional with Fox News and Time, and a serious Catholic, Greg Burke is an excellent choice for a tough assignment. (Disclosure: he’s also an old friend.) But the question remains: Will he be permitted to do the job? Neither Burke nor anyone else can be of much help to the Roman Curia unless it’s open to being helped.
Goodness knows the Vatican needs PR assistance. Recent disasters have included an embarrassing series of leaked documents, seemingly evidence of serious conflict within the Curia (the Pope’s butler is said to have purloined the documents but few believe that he’s the only one involved); the unceremonious sacking of the Vatican bank head amid a jarring torrent of personal abuse; and fumbled communication about apparently snarled negotiations with the Lebebvrist Society of St. Pius X.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. As anyone even casually familiar with the situation realizes, the underlying problems in Rome go deeper and have existed for years.