Vatican spokesman and his deputy resigned on Monday over disagreements on strategy, ending a year of upheaval in the Holy See’s communications structure.
A brief Vatican statement gave no reason for the resignations. Spokesman Greg Burke, an American, tweeted that he and his Spanish deputy, Paloma Garcia Ovejero, had quit to let Pope Francis appoint a new team in what was a “time of transition”.
A Vatican source said both Burke and Ovejero had wanted more autonomy from the Vatican department that oversees all communications, known as the Dicastery for Communications.
They quit two weeks after Pope Francis appointed a personal friend, Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, to become editorial director of all Vatican communications.
The source said it was believed to be the first time both posts had changed hands simultaneously, underscoring the differences of opinion.
“Paloma and I have resigned, effective Jan. 1. At this time of transition in Vatican communications, we think it’s best the Holy Father is completely free to assemble a new team,” Burke tweeted.
The 59-year-old former Rome-based reporter for Fox News joined the Vatican in 2012 as an advisor in its Secretariat of State and become spokesman in 2016. He is a member of the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei.
Ovejero, 43, a former reporter for the Spanish radio network COPE, was one of the few high-ranking women in the Vatican.