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Vatican media must be professional and better resourced says adviser

LONDON (CNS): “We know how people get their information. We know how people want to respond to the information they are getting and they feel just because it’s the Church, it shouldn’t be less professional than any civic organisation. You can’t do that if you are operating in silos,” said Chris Patten, the last colonial governor of Hong Kong and head of the 11-member Vatican Media Committee that has been advising the Holy See on media and communications since last July.

The former chairperson of the British Broadcasting Corporation Trust, said, “Nobody is suggesting that the Vatican should behave like (Rupert) Murdoch or Trinity Mirror, but the technology they use is available to the Vatican today,” he said before a May 27 speech following a Mass in St. Patrick’s Church in Soho, London, to mark World Communications Day.

In his speech he said it would be “beyond bizarre” to deny the Vatican the best modern media operation available when the Catholic Church in countries such as the United States of America (US), France and Germany were already functioning at that level.

The Vatican has nearly a dozen separate communication outlets and offices, many of which operate independently of one another. They include the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano; Vatican Radio; the Vatican television production studio, CTV; the Vatican Information Service; the Vatican press office; the Fides missionary news agency; the main Vatican website; the news aggregator; the Vatican publishing house LEV; and the Vatican printing press.

Patten said, “Meaningful improvements in the Holy See’s media operations would not be possible without a complete integration of the existing media entities and the creation of single structure with overall responsibility for management, technology and finance.” 

He said, “I think the structures we propose with a department—part of which gathers the news and part of which disseminates—is a statement of the blindingly obvious. It is how any media organisation operates today, rather than operating in silos.”


A report and implementation plan drawn up by the media committee has been accepted by the Council of Cardinals......