No Vatican "Culture of Secrecy," Says Spokesman

Explains 2 Directions in Church Communication

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ROME, APRIL 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- According to Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, there is an open door between the Vatican and the world of social communications: the Vatican press office.

Father Lombardi, who is the director of the press office, thus described the role of his work at a seminar Wednesday on “Church and Communications: Identity and Dialogue.”

The three-day conference was held at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome and concluded Wednesday.

According to Vatican Radio, Father Lombardi explained that the Holy See’s communication goes in two directions.

“We communicate texts, news, documents of the Holy See to the world of communications, but we also receive questions, seek to understand the problems and queries, to suggest to our superiors in the Holy See questions to be addressed and answers to be given to questions,” he said.

The Jesuit priest stressed the importance of a serene, objective and relaxed relationship with journalists.

“I can never say that the media is bad,” he said. “I think that is a grave error. I know that the media reflects many different positions and attitudes, and also many professional capacities that enter into dialogue with me, which in my opinion, interpret the expectations of the greater public.”

Father Lombardi proposed the need for greater transparency in the Church’s communication.

And he encouraged Church communicators to give “the maximum amount of information that we can and know of to give, so that the impression many have will be reduced: that we have a culture of secrecy or things to hide.”

The scandal

The director of the Vatican press office referred specifically to the problem of sexual abuses of minors committed by some clergy.

“I think this is an issue that will not close or be forgotten,” he said, “and I think it is our task to achieve a development in the communication in the Church and in the society around us that is in a more positive direction.”

Finally, Father Lombardi mentioned the most important papal events for the upcoming months, among them Benedict XVI’s September trip to England, which will include the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

“This is very interesting,” the spokesman said. “This evidently means that Newman’s figure is of special interest to the Holy Father, also because it is the fundamental event of this trip, which he evidently wishes to make and considered appropriate to make.”

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