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Monday, February 22, 2016

Communique of the Secretariat for Communications

Vatican City, 22 February 2016 (VIS) – The Secretariat for Communications today issued the following communique:

"Due to the end of the term of service at Vatican Radio of the Director General Fr. Federico Lombardi and the Managing Director Alberto Gasbarri, the prefect for the Secretariat for Communications, Msgr. Dario Vigano, upon directions from the Secretariat of State, has appointed Giacomo Ghisani as "ad interim" legal representative and head of the Directorate of Vatican Radio, responsible for the day-to-day management of Vatican Radio in the context of the current restructuring of Vatican communications".

In an explanatory note, it is mentioned that by the Motu Proprio "The current communications context", dated 27 June 2015, Pope Francis instituted the Secretariat for Communications to integrate all the entities hitherto concerned with communication into a new dicastery of the Roman Curia. These structures were the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican Internet Service, the Vatican Television Centre, L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican Typography, the Photographic Service and the Vatican Publishing House.

On 9 June of the same year, a feasibility study and working calendar were presented to the Council of Cardinals (the so-called C9), indicating the gradual process of unification of the existing entities; "such bodies", it specifies, "from the date of the publication of the present Motu Proprio, shall continue their respective duties, observing however the indications provided by the Secretariat for Communications".

The process has begun, and on 1 January 2016 the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Holy See Press Office were unified, from an administrative and management point of view. Nothing has been modified with regard to the competence of the Secretariat of State in relation to institutional communication.

This year, in accordance with the presented and approved time scale, the complex but certainly positive unification of Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Centre was expected to take place. This was implemented for some services (such as the distribution of sound and images for papal ceremonies and other important Vatican events), and for the better deployment of human resources.

In this context it is clear why at the end of February, at the end of their respective five-year mandates and the upcoming retirements of two senior figures, the Director General Fr. Federico Lombardi and the Managing Director Alberto Gasbarri, they will not be substituted with figures in similar directing roles. Instead a legal representative and and head of the administrative office will be appointed, in the single person of Giacomo Ghisani, currently deputy director of the General Directorate of the Secretariat for Communications, who has an excellent knowledge of Vatican Radio having worked there for many years as head of the legal and international relations office.

The restructuring process will be accompanied by the formulation of new Statutes not only for the Dicastery but also the connected body that will ensure legal representation both in institutional contexts and at European and international level. The new Statutes will also reformulate the staffing plans of the unified bodies.

"The task that awaits us offers a great opportunity to evaluate in both entities the areas of excellence and our patrimony of multilingualism and multiculturalism", the note says.

"In this phase, the Vatican Television Centre will continue to refer to Stefano D'Agostini for the purposes of ordinary administration. The staff of Vatican Radio will refer to Giacomo Ghisani for administrative matters and to Fr. Andrzej Majewski for editorial activities and the situation of the various language versions (that is, the current Directorate of Programming). Technological matters, including acquisitions and the development of projects (the activity and competence of the current Technical Directorate) it will refer to Sandro Piervenanzi.

The Secretariat for Communications will follow this process with care and attention, to facilitate solutions to eventual difficulties and to guarantee its success.

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