Pope’s statement: glad he Pontifficated

Like millions (billions?) of others others around the world yesterday, I scrutinised the resignation statement of Pope Benedict XVI keenly.

As a PR person, I probably looked more closely than most, interested in how The Vatican had chosen every word and structured every sentence.

At first glance, it struck me that this was a pretty meandering piece of prose that took a long while to get to the point. Which was, obviously, farily significant news given it was the first time it had happened since 1417.

But the more I looked at it, the more I could see the sense in the way the speech was written. Rather than doing what the vast majority of other ‘brands’ do these days in making statements drip with soundbites and short, punchy sentences, the Pope’s speech had no fewer than 31 commas.

It was written The Vatican’s way, as it should be, making it really authentic, and written the way he tends to talk (see, even I’m going commatastic now). Which is an important consideration for statements and speeches drafted by communications teams that can tend to make these things homogenous.

And with his foray onto Twitter recently, the communication was able to follow a clear path from the authentic, ‘owned’ story at the centre to connections directly with social media followers, then be validated and accelerated by the press. In seconds.

The statement gets them thumbs up from me. I’m glad it was a Pontifficated delivery.

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