Movie expert to head Vatican TV

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI named a priest who is an expert in cinema and communications to head the Vatican's television production center, CTV.

Father Dario Edoardo Vigano, 50, replaces Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, as director of CTV, while the Jesuit remains general director of Vatican Radio and head of the Vatican press office. The pope also named Father Vigano to be secretary of the television's administrative council, according to the Vatican.

In an effort to simplify the accreditation process for journalists, the pope also named Angelo Scelzo, who served as undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, to be the second vice-director of the Vatican press office.

Scelzo, a lay journalist, will continue his role of overseeing the accreditation process for still photographers and audiovisual journalists, but will do so at the press hall, rather than at the pontifical council. Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini will continue as the other vice-director of the press hall, serving print journalists.

The Vatican announced the new appointments Jan. 22.

Father Vigano, who was born in Rio de Janeiro, is a professor of the "theology of communication" at the Redemptor Hominis Pastoral Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University and serves as director of the Lateran Center for Higher Studies.

Ordained by the late-Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini for the Archdiocese of Milan, the priest has a doctorate in communications and has written a number of books and articles about the relationship between Catholicism and the mass media, particularly cinema.

He has taught cinema and communications at several universities in Rome and Milan, and worked for the Italian bishops' conference office of social communications and its film review commission.

Father Lombardi had been director of Vatican television since 2001. He had been juggling three executive positions after the pope named him general director of the radio in 2005 and head of Vatican press office in 2006.

Moving Scelzo from the communications council to the press office is part of the Vatican's slow process of streamlining its communications agencies.

The accreditation process for journalists had been divided for several years between the press office and the communications council.

Now this "anomalous" situation will be remedied as the accreditation process for all print, photo and film journalists for "news events" will be consolidated in one place - at the Vatican press hall, Father Lombardi said Jan. 22.

Camera and film crews for documentaries or other projects will still need to go through the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for accreditation, he said.

It was also likely the pope would eventually name a new undersecretary to the communications council, he added.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 1970