Pope Taps Italian Layman Paolo Ruffini as Chief Communications Office

After the Vatican’s former communications head stepped down in the fallout of a major fake-news scandal, Pope Francis has tapped layman Paolo Ruffini for the job, pulling him from a post with the Italian bishops conference. Ruffini, born in Palermo in 1956, has until now worked as the director of TV2000, the official television channel for the Italian bishops, and will be responsible for continuing the pope’s overhaul of Vatican communications. He is the first layperson to head a Vatican department.

In addition to his hefty background in radio, print and television communications, Ruffini has also received several prizes for journalism and has participated in study conferences about the role Christians play in information, communications ethics, and new media.  Ruffini will take over for Msgr. Lucio Ruiz, who has served as an interim leader for the communications office since March, when the former prefect, Msgr. Dario Vigano, stepped down following what has been dubbed the “Lettergate” scandal.

The confusion took place after the March launch of the 11-book series “The Theology of Pope Francis,” published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana, the Vatican publishing house overseen by the Vatican’s communications department.