Pope picks Irish priest for top media role

A Dublin priest has been chosen by Pope Benedict to become one of the Vatican's most senior media advisors, the Catholic Church revealed today.

Monsignor Paul Tighe will be second in command at the communications office at the Holy See.

"This appointment has come as a surprise to me," Mgr Tighe said.

The Navan-born priest will take up the post of Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and will help to devise new strategies and liaise with the international media.

"Communication of the Gospel must be at heart of the ministry of a priest and I am pleased to be asked to work in the Council that has a mandate to harness the potential of the media - new and old - as a means of evangelisation," Mgr Tighe said.

The appointment rounds off a remarkable week for the Catholic Church in Ireland after Primate of All-Ireland Sean Brady was made a Cardinal.

Mgr Tighe thanked Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin for allowing him to take up the post.

"He has been a very good friend to me for many years. Working for him in Dublin for the last four years has been a particularly enjoyable and instructive experience," the Monsignor said.

The Pontifical Council for Social Communications runs the Church's contact with the mass media around the world. A review process is under way to improve and develop Vatican communications.

Archbishop Martin welcomed the appointment.

"Monsignor Tighe is a priest of great competence and I am glad that he will have the possibility now to place his talents at the service of the Universal Church," the Archbishop said.

"I thank him for the service he has given to the Archdiocese of Dublin and wish him every success."

Mgr Tighe will be second in command to the President of the Council Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli.

He currently heads up the public affairs office in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Mgr Tighe graduated from UCD in 1979 with a degree in Law before studying for the priesthood in Holy Cross College, Clonliffe and the Irish College in Rome. He was ordained into the Dublin Diocese in 1983.

He has worked as a parish chaplain and teacher in Ballyfermot and lectured in Moral Theology in the Mater Dei Institute in Dublin and has headed up the department since 2000.

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