Usually the appointment of a new spokesman isn’t a huge deal, except at the Vatican where the spokesman speaks for the Pope. So today, Pope Benedict has appointed Fr. Federico Lombardi, an Italian Jesuit and current head of Vatican TV and Vatican Radio, to succeed Joaquin Navarro-Valls as his spokesman. Navarro-Valls is a Spanish doctor and member of Opus Dei who served as spokesman for 22 years.
Navarro-Valls has long made it known that he was ready to retire, even before Pope John Paul died, but he stayed on and on, serving as the Pope asked him, but he’s 70 years old now and will move into retirement,
Lombardi will remain head of TV and Radio and take on the job as head of the Press Office, which is an interesting partial confirmation that there will be a shakeup of the Holy See’s communications apparatus. Under Lombardi, TV and Radio have embraced new media and new technology—Radio is even doing podcasts of its programming now—so perhaps we can continue to expect innovation from him in new areas.
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