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Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Holy See Press Office Director Greg Burke, having served as the Holy Father’s spokesman since August of 2016.

Greg Burke, a native of Saint Louis, joined the Vatican in 2012 as a senior communications advisor to the Vatican’s Cardinal Secretary of State. He was appointed Vice Director of the Holy See Press Office in February of 2016, later taking over as Director in August of that year.

This past Monday, Burke and now former Vice Director Paloma Garcia Ovejero handed in their resignations to Pope Francis, who accepted. Pope Francis appointed Alessandro Gisotti, a member of the Vatican’s communications office, as interim director of the Holy See Press Office. Burke tweeted, saying “we think it’s best the Holy Father is completely free to assemble a new team,” after their resignations effective January 1st.

 

Former Vice Director Ovejero wrote on Twitter with similar thanks, saying in Spanish:

“Thank you, Holy Father, for these two and a half years! Thank you, Greg, for your confidence, your patience and your example.”

In a statement, Interim director Alessandro Gisotti thanked Burke and Ovejero for their friendship and service, and Pope Francis for “the trust he has placed in me at such a delicate time for the communication of the Holy See.”

“I will try to fulfill the task entrusted to me in the best of my ability. I know that my job, even if temporary, is particularly demanding but I am comforted by the great merits of my colleagues in the Press Office, whose professionalism and dedication I have been able to appreciate on many occasions.”

Paulo Ruffini, Prefect for the Vatican Dicastery for Communications, said in a statement he “learned” of the decision, calling it a “free and autonomous choice.”

“In these few months of work together I could appreciate their professionalism, their humanity, their faith. I therefore thank them for the dedication with which they have done their work thus far.”

Ruffini added he has full confidence in Gisotti’s ability to run the Holy See Press Office as Interim Director for the coming year.

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