And another valuable Sunday-morning resource — another report from Chris Morley, this one on the tipc of the pope's media machine (and its dire need of updating for the 20st century):
Updating the Pope's Media Machine for the 21st Century
Congratulations Francis: You have An All Male Panel!
The Vatican's media operation is a Byzantine mess, unfit for purpose for a global Church in the 21st century. We know about Father Lombardi attempting to spin things to the world's media in Rome to look good, but there's Vatican Radio, its newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the Pope's recently joined Twitter, and altogether there are around a dozen entities, all uncoordinated and many questionably managed.
Around 85 per cent of the Vatican's total spending on communications currently goes on its newspaper and radio. Apart from those two, there's the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Vatican television production studio (CTV), the Vatican Information Service, the Vatican press office, the Fides missionary news agency, the Vatican website, the news.va news aggregator, the Vatican publishing house (LEV), and the Vatican printing press, and a few other bit players.
The Pope has now set up five-person committee to modernise communications and cut costs, implementing recommendations he's received for streamlining and modernising the Vatican’s many communications structures.
When the Pope met the Council of Cardinals in April, they advised he set up this commission to implement a reform plan drafted by a previous 11-member papal commission, led by the British media expert Lord Patten. Chris Patten had been picked for that job by Cardinal Pell, after Patten had chaired the BBC Trust. It's an old boys network, both went to Oxford University.
The reform effort is to update the Vatican communications outlets to changing media consumption trends, better co-ordinate its existing channels and make substantial financial savings.
The Vatican's now announced the new commission's membership. Three of them are top-level officials at Vatican communications outlets. The five members are:
• Mgr Dario Vigano, 52, director of the Vatican Television Center, and now president of the new Commission for the Vatican’s Communications Media.
• Irishman Mgr Tighe, 57, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. He served as director of the Archdiocese of Dublin’s communications office and created its office for public affairs to aid in its communications efforts. He also served as secretary of the 11-member papal commission that came up with written proposals for revamping the Vatican’s media.
• Italian Jesuit Fr Antonio Spadaro, 48, director of the influential Jesuit journal, La Civiltà Cattolica. He is a consulter for the councils for social communications and of culture. He is active on many social networks, contributes to a variety of online news sites and has the blog, CyberTeologia, which he says hopes to bring "the intelligence of faith to the web".
• Argentine Mgr Lucio Adrian Ruiz, who was born in 1965, serves as head of the Vatican Internet Service and the Vatican's telecommunications office. He runs the vatican.va website and he built the clerus dot org website for the Congregation for Clergy.
• Paolo Nusiner, the only lay person on the commission, was born in 1963 and is managing director of Avvenire, the daily newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference. An expert in business, he has worked at Deloitte & Touche in Milan and is an adviser for an Italian federation of newspaper editors and an association of Christian business leaders.
"Pope Francis appoints commission to reform Vatican media" (Catholic Herald)
"Lord Patten urges Vatican to accept sweeping changes to its media operation" (Catholic Herald)
"Lord Patten's speech on the Vatican's media operation" at the English and Welsh bishops' World Communications Day (Catholic Herald)