Pope Names Brazilian-Born Priest New Head of Vatican TV

Additional restructuring also comes to the Vatican Press Office.

VATICAN CITY — In a restructuring of Vatican communication departments, a Brazilian-born priest will be the new director of the Vatican TV station.

Pope Benedict appointed Father Dario Edoardo Viganò, professor at the Pontifical Lateran University and a cinema expert, to take the place of Father Federico Lombardi.

“I feel very happy about this decision that has been taken because I still have a lot of work to do as head of Vatican Radio and as head of the Vatican’s press office,” Father Lombardi, 70, told CNA.

“As long as they don't appoint a new head for these two posts, I will still remain here,” the Jesuit priest added, laughing.

The Pope named Father Lombardi as the Vatican’s press-office director in 2006, a role which later meant also heading both the Vatican Television Center and Vatican Radio.

Father Viganò, who was born in Rio de Janeiro on June 27, 1962, is a member of the Pontifical Theological Academy and of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

The Vatican’s television station, CTV, was founded in 1983 to broadcast Vatican activities, including the Pope’s weekly general audience and Angelus. It broadcasts an average of 200 live events each year.

In additional restructuring, the Pope also appointed journalist Angelo Scelzo, the undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, as deputy director of the Vatican Press Office.

The new appointment is a way of uniting the accreditation process for the press. Previously, the Press Office was in charge of accrediting print journalists, while the Pontifical Council for Social Communications coordinated the accreditation of cameramen and photographers.

Scelzo, however, will connect the two media departments. He will manage audiovisual accreditations and work with the current deputy director, Father Ciro Benedettini.

“The decision of the Secretariat of State to finally unify the accreditation sector has been expected for a long time,” said Father Benedettini.

“This was just nonsensical in the present situation of cross media, where print journalists can also film for a website,” he told CNA.

The Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Vatican Press Office will now be separated between “news” and “projects” accreditations. The Vatican Press Office will authorize news coverage at the Vatican, while the Social Communications Council will authorize documentaries.

Established by Pope Pius XII in 1948, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications is aimed at spreading the Gospel with new media. Its president is Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, and its secretary is Msgr. Paul Tighe.