Has the long-overdue reform of Vatican media operations been sidetracked?

Catholic Culture

By Phil Lawler Apr 30, 2015

Pope Francis has formed a new commission to implement proposals for a reform of the Vatican’s media operations . That’s good news, I suppose. Or is it?

The April 30 announcement from the Vatican press office about this new commission did not provide details. What will this new commission do? How does it differ from another special commission, forned only last year, which just finished its work, providing recommendations for reforms? According to the press office, upon reviewing the report submitted by the first commission, the Council of Cardinals “proposed His Holiness the institution of a commission to study this final report and to suggest feasible approaches to its implementation.” Didn’t the first commission give any attention to feasible plans for implementation of its recommendations?

In short, the April 30 announcement raises more questions than it answers. If the ultimate goal of a reform in the Vatican media operation is to encourage candor and clarity, it’s obvious that the reforms haven’t taken effect yet.

Yet there’s a more important reason for concern about today’s news. The original commission was composed of recognized experts in the fields of media and communications, drawn from institutions around the world. The new commission is made up of clerics currently involved in the Vatican’s media operations—along with one executive of the newspaper owned by the Italian bishops’ conference. This is very much an in-house bunch.

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