Pope’s aide Francesca Chaouqui ruffles cassocks at Vatican

A 27-year-old PR woman is deepening the rift between the pontiff and the old guard

The Pope called the Vatican bureaucracy a ‘snakepit’ (Stefano Rellandini)

WITH her film-star looks, flowing hair and leather jacket provocatively unzipped, Francesca Chaouqui cuts an unusual figure alongside the elderly men who run the Catholic church.

But when the 27-year-old public relations consultant was appointed to a key Vatican commission last month, the step was hailed as a symbol of Pope Francis’s determination to bring in fresh blood.

Last week, however, the unconventional choice turned into an embarrassment for the Argentine pontiff as attention focused on a series of tweets sent from Chaouqui’s account in the months before her nomination — including one in which Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, was labelled as “corrupt”.

The row has exposed a Vatican power-struggle appearing to pit Francis, whose vision is of “a poor church, for the poor”, against the R

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Vatican PR woman Francesca Chaouqui in row over Twitter posts

  • Staff writers
  • News Limited Network
  • August 19, 2013 12:28PM

SOCIAL media has come back to bite the glamorous 30-year-old PR consultant at the centre of a Vatican Twitter scandal.

The “semi nude” photos with her partner chewing on her shoulder on YouTube are awkward enough, but it’s Francesca Chaouqui’s Twitter use which is causing uproar in Rome.

The Vatican has launched an inquiry into the hiring of Ms Chaouqui, who was appointed as PR officer for a new eight-member committee set up in July by Pope Francis to overhaul the Vatican’s financial administration.

While her youth and beauty raised a few eyebrows among conservatives, it’s a series of tweets she made before landing the role that has become the real issue.

In one she labelled Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, as “corrupt”.

Francesca Chaouqui

Francesca Chaouqui was appointed to an eight-member council to overhaul Vatican finances. But her Twitter postings have caused outrage. Now her appointment is being investigated. Pic: LinkedIn

Cardinal Bertone denies corruption and is reportedly considering a lawsuit.

Another tweet claimed the Pope’s predecessor, Benedict XVI, who stepped down in February, suffered from leukaemia – despite official denials.

A third said Paolo Gabriele, Benedict’s former butler, did not leak papal files published in a best-selling book – although he was convicted of stealing them and leaking them.

Meanwhile, Giulio Tremonti, a former Italian finance minister, said last week he was suing Ms Chaouqui and newspapers over another tweet that said he was gay.

Pope's PR woman feels the bite

Francesca Chaouqui posted a series of photos to YouTube of her and her partner. Picture: Francesca Chaouqui via YouTube

When the tweets were published in Italian media, Ms Chaouqui shutdown her Twitter account.

She told the newspaper Corriere della Sera she was not the only one to use it and denied writing the tweet about Mr Tremonti.

“I’m not worried because the Holy Father is not worried,” she said.

This comment, she said, had been agreed with Father Federico Lombardi, the Pope’s spokesman – an apparent indication the Pope intends to stand by her.

Pope Francis's appoitment of Francesca Chaouqui is being investigated. AFP file

Pope Francis’s appoitment of Francesca Chaouqui is being investigated. AFP file

It was apparently only after her appointment that the Pope, on a triumphant tour of Brazil, was told of her outspoken interventions on Twitter.

So, who is Francesca Chaouqui?

She was born in Italy to a French-Moroccan origin father and Italian mother.

Before her Vatican appointment, she was an executive at Ernst and Young and also worked for a law firm. She graduated in law at The Sapienza University of Rome.

Italian media reports say she is married to a computer scientist who has worked extensively in Vatican City.

She is apparently close to several Italian cardinals and has good access to the inner workings of the Vatican.

In 2010, she posted a slideshow on YouTube that includes several apparently topless studio portraits with her boyfriend.

It is not clear if the man in the YouTube clip is her husband.

  1. Vatican PR woman Francesca Chaouqui in row over Twitter posts

    http://www.news.com.au/…francescachaouqui…/story-fndir2ev-1226699855813

    5 days ago – The “semi nude” photos with her partner chewing on her shoulder on YouTube are awkward enough, but it’s Francesca Chaouqui’s Twitter use 

  2. Female Vatican PR Consultant in Hot Water Over Tweets, Semi

    au.ibtimes.com/…/female-vatican-pr-consultant-hot-water-over….

    3 days ago – The first salvo was the seminaked photo of Ms Chaouqui and her male partner that came out on YouTube, but was eventually removed.

  3. Vatican PR woman’s ‘controversial’ Twitter posts cause uproar – DNA

    5 days ago – In one of the posts, Francesca Chaouqui labelled Vatican’s PR consultant was in the controversy because of her ‘semi nude‘ image with her 

  4. Pope’s aide sets Twitter aflutter | Deccan Chronicle

    4 days ago – Vatican PR woman Francesca Chaouqui has landed in hot water PR consultant was in the controversy because of her ‘semi nude‘ image 

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About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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4 Responses to Pope’s aide Francesca Chaouqui ruffles cassocks at Vatican

  1. John Menezes says:

    Ossie Gracias says that “pope” Francis is the choice of the Holy Spirit. If that be his view will he, as adviser, dare to correct “pope” Francis? Happenings in the Vatican are truly demoralizing to the sincere Catholic. And the author of all this, Paul VI, is slated to be made “blessed.”

    • One must have a strong spine to stand up against the tide sweeping the sea in the opposite direction. If one cannot solve the problems at home, where and how will he be able to resolve the problems outside. of course any one would enjoy the privilege of appearing on page three.You, I and a lot of us know it all. Its sad and a shame our religious administrations have dipped so very low.

      • michel says:

        Sadly, Catholicism is heading to a gradual (and perhaps even speedy) demise towards irrelevance. We have Westerners leaving it in droves mainly for atheism. It’s heart is only truly beating in the poor world and even then it is losing droves to evangelicals and Pentecostals. The poor world cannot sustain Catholicism alone and in fact the more it is seen as a third world religion the less appeal it will have first among the westerners (further accelerating their already alarming abandoning of the church) and then it will rebound against the poor world. A major part of its allure is it connection to the pomp and grandeur of Rome and when that is lost people will abandon it for the other similar less grand religions or christian sects. Another important factor is that in this advanced and modern world people cannot accept what they see as the blatant idolatry of the church.

  2. ralphpaulcoelho says:

    Is the vision of Pope Francis for a poor Church or against a triumphant , worldly Church.

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