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Rome Reports

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Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi turns 70

This was his first meeting with reporters, just hours after the pope appointed him as the Vatican spokesman.

Fr. Federico Lombardi

Director, Vatican Press Office

"I worked first in the press, with the magazine 'Civilta Cattolica', then in radio and the Vatican Television Center. I've learned the different areas of communication. Now, at the age of 65, I have been asked to be the spokesman. I will try to also learn this new office.�

Over the past six years, he's had to answer difficult questions that at times could be very complicated.

The first time was the PR crisis that erupted when the Pope's speech in Regensburg, Germany, deeply some parts of the Muslim world. Then a few months later, the Pope prayed in Istanbul's Blue Mosque, which had the desired effects of cooling tensions.

The latest crisis is the Vatileaks case. During his press briefings he has addressed the documents stolen from the pope.  Father Lombardi has even joked, saying he has had to address gossip rather than issues that would concern a spokesman.

Perhaps one of his main attributes is his versatility. Besides being director of the Vatican Press Office, he's also the director of the Vatican Television Center and Vatican Radio, as well as one of four Jesuits that are responsible for taking care of the Superior General on behalf of the members of the Order.

The position is called "ad providentiam," they handle mostly outside business, such as clothes, food and expenses of the Superior General, as well his smaller affairs that involve helping lighten his work load.

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- PR