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Pope Francis appoints new Vatican spokesman

This handout picture taken released by the Vatican Media shows Pope Francis, accompanied by the Holy See Press Office member Matteo Bruni (2nd R), who has been named the new Vatican spokesman (AFP Photo/ho)

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis on Thursday appointed a new Vatican spokesman, one of the most demanding PR jobs in the world, charged with grappling with a whirlwind papal schedule and the profound repercussions of the Church's child sex abuse scandal.

British-born Matteo Bruni, who has worked in the Holy See Press Office since 2009 and coordinated the press on the pontiff's international trips since 2013, takes over from interim spokesman Alessandro Gisotti.

The pope has a packed schedule of international travel and audiences with world leaders.

He will also inherit one of the biggest scandals to hit the Roman Catholic Church -- the sexual abuse of children by priests.

Francis has apologised for predatory priests but cover-ups in the Vatican have severely damaged trust in the centuries-old institution, and there is still much to be done to protect minors from clerical paedophiles.

"The Press Office has a new director, Matteo Bruni, who knows perfectly how we work and has been appreciated over the years for his people skills and professionalism," said Paolo Ruffini, the head of Vatican communications.

Bruni, 42, said the appointment was "an honour" and he was "grateful for the trust of the Holy Father".

"The Press Office is not a large structure, but it is a complex one," he added.

Bruni, who has a wife and daughter, has close ties to the influential Rome-based Catholic charity Sant'Egidio.