Federico Lombardi

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The Reverend Father
Federico Lombardi
Director of the Holy See Press Office
Church Roman Catholic Church
Appointed 11 July 2006
Term ended 1 August 2016
Predecessor Dr. Joaquín Navarro-Valls
Successor Greg Burke[1]
Ordination 1972
Personal details
Birth name Federico Lombardi
Born (1942-08-29) 29 August 1942 (age 74)
Saluzzo, Piedmont, Italy
Nationality Italian
Denomination Catholic (Roman Rite)
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Federico Lombardi, S.J. (born 29 August 1942[2]) is an Italian Catholic priest and the former director of the Holy See Press Office. He serves as the postulator for the beatification and canonization cause of Father Bernardo Mattio.[3]

Early life and ordination[edit]

Lombardi was born in Saluzzo, Piedmont, Italy, and was trained in mathematics and studied theology in Germany. He became a Jesuit priest in 1972, and then worked for the influential Jesuit-run magazine, La Civiltà Cattolica, and served as superior of the Jesuits' Italian province.[4]

Vatican Radio[edit]

Lombardi was named program director (1991) and later director general (2005) of Vatican Radio. He was also made general director of the Vatican Television Centre in 2001; a position he held until 2013 and in which he was succeeded by Dario Edoardo Viganò.

Press Office of the Holy See[edit]

On 11 July 2006 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him director of the Vatican Press Office, replacing Joaquín Navarro-Valls, a layman who had held the post for 22 years.[5] Lombardi's appointment to the Press Office of the Holy See merged with it the leadership of Vatican Radio and Vatican Television Center as well, as he continues to hold those directorships.[4]

Upon assuming the directorate, Lombardi said he would not be a papal "spokesman" since he believes Benedict XVI did not need an interpreter, saying, "I don't think my role is to explain the Pope's thinking or explain the things that he already states in an extraordinarily clear and rich way."[6] He is considered to have taken a more low-key approach than his predecessor.[6]

Crises in communication[edit]

In an editorial for "Octava Dies", a weekly program of the Vatican Television Center, he criticized statements made by Bishop Richard Williamson denying the extent of the Holocaust.[7] Lombardi was later criticized himself by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos over the problems in communication revealed during the affair.[8]

Lombardi said that the Pope had never been a member of the Hitler Youth, but journalists quickly pointed out to him that Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope, had admitted this himself in the 1997 book Salt of the Earth.[9]

In 2009 Lombardi said that in "cases like Pope Benedict XVI’s Regensburg discourse, the bishop Williamson affair, or the controversy over Pope Benedict XVI’s statements regarding condoms and the spread of HIV and AIDS in Africa ... once the first wave of criticism had passed, people were able to do some real hard thinking ... subsequent reflections were serious, penetrating and well-argued."[10]

In September 2012, Lombardi released a second statement on the 2012 diplomatic missions attacks which clearly condemned mob violence; his first statement had been criticized by Catholic bloggers for omitting to condemn the violence, and for emphasizing primarily on the religious feelings of offended Muslims.[11]


In addition to his native Italian, Lombardi speaks French, German, and English, as well as reading and understanding Spanish and Portuguese.[6]

At the end of October 2011, he addressed his weekly editorial as a letter of welcome to the 7 billionth baby born on Earth.[12]


His resignation, which had been expected for reasons of age, as Director of the Holy See Press Office was accepted by Pope Francis on 11 July 2016; he will continue in his duties until July 31. Father Lombardi will be succeeded as Director of the Press Office on August 1, 2016, by the then-Deputy Director, Mr. Greg Burke, an American from Saint Louis, Missouri who had held the Deputy Director's post since 2015, having worked beforehand in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See in the General Affairs Section, as Assessor for Communications. Burke is succeeded as Deputy Director by Paloma García Ovejero, a woman and a native of Madrid, Spain, who has been serving as a correspondent for Italy and the Vatican, and earlier, as an editor and presenter, for Cadena Cope, Radio Española.[13][14]

See also[edit]