Despite the Catholic Church suffering the backlash from scandals that involved sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, fraud, money-laundering, dwarf throwing and the VatiLeaks saga, Pope Francis is quickly becoming the most popular Pontiff in history. Could it be down to the Pope’s natural charm, phoning up his followers for a chat, his invaluable tweets, or his willingness to get up close & personal with fellow Catholics, which includes his willingness to be dragged into a stranger’s ‘selfie’? After years of some well deserved negative press, the Catholic Church is currently basking in the ‘Francis Effect’ which has been credited with a 20 per cent rise in congregations in Britain, and similar boosts around the world.
The man’s name is not Monsignor Greg Burke but plain Greg Burke, 53, a native of St Louis, Missouri, the Vatican’s publicity shy PR guru…or if you prefer, senior media advisor who is credited with turning Pope Francis into a man of the people. Appearing to have the ‘common touch’ should not be sniffed at. Winston Churchill had it. Burke by name but not berk by nature is the American author/journalist who in June 2012 was snatched from Fox News to help the Vatican improve its relations with the
mafia…media. Having worked for Time magazine in Rome for 10 years, and Reuters news agency, the man is amply qualified to turn around the fortunes of the premier Christian church. Mr Burke is a lifelong Opus Dei (God’s Work) member in which backlashing (self-flagellation) is considered de rigueur. Unfortunately, non Opus Dei members like me, must pay for S & M! One of the first things Mr Burke suggested was the shutting down of the Cardinals private bowling alley and disco, however the Friday night poker sessions are still ongoing!
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it wasn’t Greg Burke’s idea for Pope Francis to publicly unveil for the first time, the nine fragments of bone thought to belong to the first Pope, St Peter. Thousands of worshippers packed St Peter’s Square to catch a glimpse of the bronze chest containing the fragments found in the necropolis under St. Peter’s Basilica during excavations in 1939. What a publicity coup…if short-lived! Unf**king-fortunately, Romanian Gypsy fortune-teller Madam Cucai ‘lifted’ the ‘runes’, intending to incorporate St Peter’s ‘leftovers’ in her ‘act’. Promises of fertility and good fortune had never had such provenance! ‘Entrepreneurship’ should be encouraged at all levels, don’t you think?