Pope taps layman to head communications office after scandal

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has named an Italian journalist as prefect of the Vatican's communications office, the first time a layman has headed a Holy See department.

Paolo Ruffini fills the position vacated in March by Monsignor Dario Vigano, who was forced to resign after he misrepresented a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Ruffini is currently head of the television broadcaster of the Italian bishops conference, TV2000. He previously worked for state-run RAI and Italian newspapers Il Mattino and Il Messaggero.

Vigano, a film expert, was forced out after he selectively cited a letter from Benedict about Francis and digitally manipulated a photo of it. Francis kept him on, however, in a lesser capacity.

Recently Francis downgraded the communications secretariat to a mere "dicastery," presumably so a layman could head it.

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