Pope appoints Italian journalist to head Vatican publishing house

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Vatican City – Pope Francis has appointed Lorenzo Fazzini, Italian journalist, author and father of four, director general of the Vatican Publishing House.

The 43-year-old is the first layman to head the office, which is now managed by the Vatican Dicastery for Communication. He replaces the Franciscan conventual Father Giulio Cesareo, who had been appointed in 2017.

The Vatican made the announcement on August 23.

Fazzini is a graduate in Modern Literature and Religious Studies, is the author of eight books and has written for several newspapers, including L’Osservatore Romano at the Vatican and the Italian Bishops’ Conference daily, Avvenire.

Since 2012 he has been the director of EMI, a publishing house of 15 Italian missionary institutes that work around the world.

Under his leadership, EMI grew into a “media company”, producing events with authors, theater, catechetical exhibitions, webinars, training workshops for teachers, merchandise as well as books written by authors with a focus on people and places “on the outskirts,” according to its website.

As part of the merger and reform of the various Vatican media outlets, the publishing house will collaborate with the other media sections of the dicastery, including Vatican News, Vatican Media and television and the Vatican newspaper.

Fazzini told Vatican News on August 23 that he looked forward to the post as part of a team that brings together his talents for the sole purpose of sharing the gospel.

He said his work as the head of the IMS was similar in bringing together the different charisms of 15 missionary institutes under one editor for the sole purpose of evangelizing. He was also the first layman to run this publishing house, he added.

Putting a layman in charge of a major Vatican office, he said, seems to be part of Francis’ desire to have a church that ventures out into the world and that is “in dialogue with the world of” today “.

“My wife is a doctor, so when we talk in the evening it is very often about the vulnerability and the suffering experienced by people, the challenges, the daily life, even the wounded world that we touch and that we all touch. days ; all of this can be an added benefit “to the job,” he said.

When asked what he would seek to do given the fall in the publishing market and other cultural sectors, he said, based on what he saw from clients and readers, that people seek and appreciate from a religious point of view.

“In my opinion, the job of a Catholic editor, of a religious editor,” he said, “is to bring the religious point of view into the public arena, into the public debate” and present “with the conviction that this point of view has something to say to the world”, but without trying to make one feel guilty or inferior, and without pride or arrogance.

By simply seeking to actively participate in dialogue and “the common search for truth,” he said, “a religious publishing house can make a positive contribution.”

The Vatican Publishing House owns the rights to the Pope’s written works and publishes official Vatican documents, and offers numerous publications that cover many aspects of Catholic culture.

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