The Roman Catholic Church has announced that the Vatican has added Fox News journalist Greg Burke to their staff as “senior communications adviser.” Burke, 52 and a veteran journalist covering the Vatican for FOX, as well as a member of Opus Dei for you Dan Brown conspiracy fans, is now charged with helping shape the image of the massively powerful papal institution after a particularly rough patch of controversy and scandal. As Burke describes his job, “You’re shaping the message,” he says, and “you’re trying to make sure everyone remains on-message.”

While the “shaping” of messages, or the outright fabrication of them for the sake of ratings and the obfuscation of reality, is precisely what a veteran of FOX “News” is trained for, is it too idealist of me to feel that it doesn’t fit with the mandate of organized religion? I mean, if there ever should be an institution that at least in principle speaks truth to power, or merely popularity, it should be the church. Religion isn’t supposed to be about craft, it is supposed to be able the deeper fundamental realities that underpin our lives, isn’t it? While I understand and agree with the practicality of hiring a professional writer to handle your communications, perhaps it’s the fact that it is being described as essentially an activity of contrived persuasion that bothers me. Since when dpes the Pope need hired-gun PR?
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