July 2, 2012

VATICAN CITY – The establishment of a new post of senior communications adviser will help the Vatican deal with the challenges of a sound-bite culture, said the American journalist appointed to the job.

Greg Burke, 52, was named to the new position in the Vatican's Secretariat of State June 24 and will start in July.

Burke said his job will be to help "shape the message" coming out of the Vatican and make sure everyone there "stays on message."

It's a role similar to the White House's director of communications, who supplements the work of a more visible spokesperson, Burke said, as he described some of the challenges he plans to address: "What's the message we want to get out? How do we get it out?"

Burke, a graduate of Columbia University's school of journalism, has spent the past 24 years in Rome as a journalist – with the National Catholic Register, Time magazine and, for the past 10 years, the Fox News network.

While he is not an expert in PR or communications, Burke said, "I know what journalists are looking for and what they need, and I know how things will play out in the media."

A numerary member of Opus Dei, Burke said he wouldn't have taken the job if he didn't put all his faith in God. Numeraries are celibate and contribute a large part of their salaries to the prelature.