Feb 4, 2019
One day back when I was doing media relations for the American bishops' conference, a journalist asked me what my definition of good public relations was. Without giving it much thought, I said, "Do the right thing, and tell people about it."
I thought of that when the story broke on New Year's Eve that the director and assistant director of the Vatican press office, Greg Burke and Paloma Garcia Ovejero, had resigned. Burke is an old friend, formerly with Time and Fox News, whom I know to be an honest, honorable media professional. Garcia Ovejero I do not know, but from all reports the same is true of her.
Their departure raises unavoidable questions – soon enough to be answered by events – centering on how the Vatican is going to handle the all-important public information side of the so-called summit on clergy sex abuse that Pope Francis has summoned to take place in Rome next month.
Attending this meeting will be the presidents of bishops' conferences from around the world – in the U.S., Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston – together with the heads of Eastern Catholic churches, representatives of superior generals of religious congregations, officials of the Vatican Secretariat of State, and the heads of several Vatican agencies.