Pope Benedict has hired a reporter from Fox News as its head of communications amid the Catholic institution's 'Vatileaks' scandal.
The 52-year-old journalist Greg Burke is a member of the conservative sect Opus Dei, made famous by the best-selling novel 'The Da Vinci Code. '
Burke, who is currently Fox News correspondant for Europe and the Middle East, is tasked with improving relations with the media.
His appointment comes just days after one of the most senior powers at the Vatican, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, accused journalists of "trying to be like Dan Brown", the author of the Da Vinci Code trilogy, in their coverage of Pope's leaked correspondance.
Fox News reporter Greg Burke
He described his communications role as "shaping the message, moulding the message and trying to make sure everyone remains on-message" according to news agency Associated Press.
Burke's position sits in the secretariat of state, the centre of the Vatican's inner sanctum. Originally from St Louis, Missouri, he said he didn't know if he was hired because he was Opus Dei member. However he did tell AP that he had been offered the job twice before and but decided to take because this time it felt right "in his gut."
The appointment marks a stepping up of the Vatican's attempts to challenge their broadcasting disasters, as Burke is the only Vatican employee with experience of international media organisations.
Pope Benedict has had to wrestle with a number of scandals since his election in 2005. Most recently the president of the Vatican bank was sacked for dereliction of duty amid a police investigation into money laundering and his alleged connections with the mafia. He was accused of leaking confidential documents to family and press for his personal gain. A similar offence saw the Pope's butler arrested after police allegedly found stolen papers in Paolo Gabriele's apartment.
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