Exit Bertone, enter Parolin

Vatican Insider

Pope Francis could appoint the Nuncio of Venezuela as the new Vatican Secretary of State tomorrow


Tomorrow Pope Francis could accept the resignation presented not so long ago by the current Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Rumour has it he has decided to replace him with the Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela, Archbishop Pietro Parolin.

The new Vatican “prime minister” is 58 years old and hails from Schiavon, a town in the northern Italian province of Vicenza. A priest since 1980, he entered the Vatican diplomatic corps in 1986 and in 2002 was appointed under-secretary of the Secretariat of State’s section for Relations with States (the Vatican equivalent of a deputy foreign affairs minister). In the Secretariat of State, he worked first with Cardinal Sodano and then with Bertone. In September 2009, Benedict XVI, who had nominated Parolin Nuncio to Venezuela about a week earlier, co-ordained him bishop with Bertone and others.

The outgoing Secretary of State leaves his position just before his 79th birthday, as his predecessor Cardinal Angelo Sodano, currently Dean of the College of Cardinals, did. Tarcisio Bertone, a Salesian, had been Archbishop of Geneva up until then and was chosen by Benedict XVI as Secretary of State in 2006, a year after Ratzinger was elected Pope. Strangely, Bertone’s nomination was announced in June but he took up his post in September: the Vatican’s new “prime minister” found himself having to deal with a crisis sparked by the interpretation of Benedict XVI’s controversial speech in Regensburg.

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