Vatican City, Jun 24, 2012 / 12:38 pm
Fox News Rome correspondent and former National Catholic Register journalist Greg Burke has been praised as the ideal choice for the Vatican's new media adviser post.
"It's an incredible challenge," Burke told CNA on June 24. "I didn't want to leave the job at Fox, which has been a wonderful gig."
"But I think if I didn't take it, I would always be wondering if I could have made a difference," he said. "I guess now I'll get to find out."
Burke's newly created position requires him to assist the Vatican with communications issues between the Holy See press office, other Vatican communications departments and the Secretariat of State.
Originally from St. Louis, Mo., the 52-year-old is a Columbia University journalism graduate, a lay member of Opus Dei, and previously worked as a Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register.
He credits his work at the Register – writing during the 1980s and early 90s under former editor-in-chief and friend Francis Maier – as preparation for the new job.
"I feel very fortunate that I've had a lot of real world journalism experience, at a very high level, and I hope I can put that to use for the Vatican," he said.
"Blame it all on Fran Maier if you want; he's the one who gave me a job in Rome almost 25 years ago."
Maier, who serves as special adviser to Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and was former chancellor of the Denver archdiocese, is equally enthusiastic over Burke's appointment.
"Greg dramatically improved our coverage of Vatican affairs and the state of the Church in Europe," Maier told CNA.
"He brings a great blend of intelligence, professional skill and poise to his work anchored in a deep Catholic faith. He's a wonderful choice for the job."
Yet despite the excitement surrounding his move, the Vatican's new media adviser admitted initial feelings of hesitation.
"The day I accepted – just a couple weeks ago – I was pretty nervous about it," Burke said. "Was I making the right move?"
However, Burke said he recently picked up a book titled "A Good Man," by Mark Shriver, which chronicles the life of the author's father. A longtime U.S. public servant, Sargent Shriver married into the Kennedy family and started the Peace Corps.
"Sarge Shriver was an incredibly talented guy, and also just an outstanding man of faith. His whole sense of joy and abandonment was really deeply felt, and and I think I was reading it just at the right time," Burke said.
"The message was really clear: do every thing you can to make the world a better place, and those around you a little more joyful," he added. "And then don't worry about anything, even in the face of great adversity. You're not the one in control."
"I can't fix everything and I'm no PR miracle worker," Burke said, "but I think the fact they created this position is a step in the right direction."