Vatican Spokesman Former Fox News Greg Burke Is Out

Greg Burke, the Vatican’s first American spokesman, announced his resignation on Twitter on Monday morning in Rome, just moments after the Vatican officially issued the news. His deputy, Paloma Garcia Ovejero, also resigned. “I joined the Vatican in 2012. The experience has been fascinating, to say the least. Thank you, Pope Francis. Un abrazo muy fuerte,” Burke tweeted, nodding to Pope Francis’ native Spanish language. He also tweeted “New Year, New Adventures.”

Burke, a former correspondent for Time magazine in Rome and on-air correspondent for Fox News, is a devout Catholic who belongs to the Opus Dei religious prelature of the Roman Catholic Church, made famous by Dan Brown in his DaVinci Code. His departure comes as the Vatican reshuffles its communications arm. The pope recently appointed Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa’s Vatican Insider as the new editorial director of all Vatican media, amid rumors in Rome that he and Burke did not share the same view of how to best represent the Holy See in this particular moment for the church as the clerical sex abuse crisis implodes. “Paloma and I have resigned, effective Jan. 1,” Burke tweeted. “At this time of transition in Vatican communications, we think it’s best the Holy Father is completely free to assemble a new team.”

—Barbie Latza Nadeau