Reporting: How to Cover the Vatican Without Really Praying

At the end of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, an American reporter compared Vatican watching with Kremlin watching—unfavorably. The Kremlin, he argued, at least had some concern for world opinion. The comparison may have been exaggerated, but it reflected the traditional frustrations of newsmen trying to cover the capital of Roman Catholicism. Until 1966, for instance, there was no official Vatican press officer or any individual who could be singled out as a "Vatican spokesman." Even after the press office was set up, a reporter might wait a week to have a question answered, and then perhaps only...

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