PR wizards of the world, take heed. In anticipation of the very first encyclical to be promulgated by a brand new pope who has already embarked upon a historic pontificate, the Vatican PR machine has leapt into action. Pope Francis, as we all know, has the world’s attention. Not wishing to squander this well-deserved attention, the Vatican Information Service (the Vatican’s news agency) is offering tantalizing pre-publication hype this week.
In sentence #2 of a two-sentence notice at News.va, VIS quotes Holy See Press Office Director Federico Lombardi, who describes the new encyclical as — are you ready for it? — “not very extensive.”
This is not, you will note, one unfortunate phrase from an otherwise enthusiastic public relations effort. That’s the entirety of the description to be found in the VIS notice:
Vatican City, 1 July 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis’ first encyclical, entitled “Lumen Fidei”, will be published on Friday 5 July. The document, described as “not very extensive” by the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., will be presented at a Press Conference by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization.
Fr. Lombardi and VIS have us all waiting breathlessly.