Greg Burke: The Prequel

I’m excited about Greg Burke’s new job. Last week, the Vatican announced that they’d enlisted the Fox News correspondent to serve as senior communications advisor at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

I’m excited because officials at the Vatican—God bless them—need all the help they can get. Newswires have been full of bad news for the Roman Curia: Vatileaks has been the latest snafu, but there’s the Vatican Bank scandal, the decade-long clergy abuse crisis, liberal outcry following the Pope’s Regensburg lecture….

But I’m excited, too, because I remember Greg Burke from years ago, before he went to Fox News, before the career events listed on the AP wire and on his official bio. I remember the pre-2001 Burke.

Around 1999-2001, I was producing a fairly new morning show in the Catholic market, “Kresta in the Morning.” (Yep, that’s the show that is now heard nationally during afternoon drive time with the catchier title, “Kresta in the Afternoon”.) We went on the air at 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time, and it was hard—no, it was near impossible!—to attract guests for interviews when folks in the Eastern time zone were just rolling out of bed, and those in the rest of the country were happily squeezing their pillows.

How to fill the earliest time slot on the show? NEWS FROM ROME, of course! In Roma, it was already 1:00 p.m. and the Romans were lingering over pranzo (lunch), dining on insalata caprese and sipping espresso at the local trattoria. It was the perfect time to reach the Vatican Press Office!

So each morning, we called in and got a report on the news of the day right from the Eternal City, from one of two English-speaking reporters: American expatriates Sabrina Arena and Greg Burke.  I loved his reports, replete with personal stories about the Pope’s breakfast or the General Audience or visitors from the States.

Congratulations, Greg, on the new challenge.  May God grant you wisdom and fortitude—because this time, you’ve taken on a whale of a responsibility.


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