Italian journalists named to leading positions in Vatican communications

Italian journalists named to leading positions in Vatican communications

A view of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Jan. 25, 2015. Credit: Bohumil Petrik/CNA.
A view of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Jan. 25, 2015. Credit: Bohumil Petrik/CNA.

.- Pope Francis Tuesday appointed two Italians to leading positions within the communications department, naming veteran Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli editorial director and making Professor Andrea Monda the new director of Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

Giovanni Maria Vian, who had been director of the Vatican newspaper since 2007, was given the title of “director emeritus” by Pope Francis.

Paolo Ruffini, who was made prefect of the Dicastery for Communications in July, noted in a Dec. 18 statement that the new appointees “have in common being journalists who look beyond the appearance of things… who know how to go deep; who can listen.”

“Both are writers as well as journalists. Both can speak to all generations, so even to young people. Both are bridge builders,” he said.

About L’Osservatore Romano, Ruffini said, “The newspaper of the Holy See is one of the pillars of our communication, called to be increasingly involved in the process of integration of the Vatican information system.”

A continuation of Pope Francis’ reform of Vatican communications, Tornielli’s appointment fills the until-now vacant seat of editorial director of the Dicastery for Communications. The department’s previous prefect, now-consultor Msgr. Dario Vigano, had previously undertaken the tasks of the position in an unofficial manner.

According to the dicastery’s statutes, the task of the editorial director is to address and coordinate the dicastery’s editorial lines, lead the strategic development of new forms of media, and oversee the integration of traditional media and digital media with attention to the universal dimension of the Holy See’s communications.

Tornielli, 54, is married and the father of three children; he splits his time between Rome and Milan.

He holds a degree from the University of Padova in History of the Greek Language and from 1992-1996 served as editor of the monthly publication 30 Giorni. From 1996-2011 he worked for the newspaper Il Giornale.

Tornielli began working for La Stampa in April 2011, where he has also been the coordinator and a writer for “Vatican Insider,” a sub-section of the La Stampa website, which is focused on Vatican news and analysis in Italian and English.

In a statement Dec. 18, Tornielli said he is grateful to Pope Francis for the appointment and to Ruffini of thinking of him for the position.

Commenting on the long history of the Holy See’s media, previously called Vatican Radio, he said that the Vatican communications “continue to transmit the message of the Successors of Peter and also to give voice to those who have none, thanks to a presence in many different languages, unique in the world.”

“I am convinced that there is a growing need for journalism to tell the facts before commenting on them,” he said.

“I will try to put myself at the service of the clear information structure of the Holy See and of the great journalistic and technical skills it expresses, to help communicate, with all means and using all platforms, in a simple and direct way, the Pope’s teachings that – as the daily homilies of Santa Marta demonstrate – accompany the people of God in every part of the world.”

Monda, 52, is married with one son, and is a native of Rome. He holds a degree in Jurisprudence from Rome’s Sapienza University and a degree in Religious Sciences from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Since 2000, he has taught courses on literature and on Christianity at the Pontifical Lateran and Pontifical Gregorian universities.

He is an author and journalist, with publications in Avvenire, a publication of the Italian bishops, and La Civilta Cattolica, a Jesuit-run journal overseen by the Vatican.

Monda also teaches religion at a classical high school in Rome and is the host of a religion program on the Catholic TV2000 station called “Buongiorno Professore.”

“I will do my part to the end to continue the work done by Professor Vian and all my predecessors, confident of being able to say, in my small way, that: ‘I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and act also with insufficient instruments,’” Monda said.

He noted that he looks forward to working with Paolo Ruffini and contributing, through the directorship of L’Osservatore Romano, to the completion of the reform of Vatican communications.

“It would be nice to imagine that an important and authoritative newspaper like L’Osservatore Romano could be read by young people all over the world who dream of good journalism,” he said.

Tags: Vatican, Catholic News