Francis reboots Vatican system with new Secretary of State

National Catholic Reporter

John L. Allen Jr. | Aug. 31, 2013 NCR Today

In a small world such as the Vatican, personnel is always policy. Nothing says more about where a pope wants to go than the people he chooses to help get him there, and pride of place in that mix generally goes to the Secretary of State, by tradition a pope’s “Prime Minister.”

Today Francis filled that key slot, appointing 58-year-old Italian Archbishop Pietro Parolin to succeed 78-year-old Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who held the position under Pope Benedict XVI.

A veteran Vatican diplomat, Parolin has served for the past four years as the papal nuncio, or ambassador, to Venezuela, and has been on the front lines of shaping the Vatican’s response to virtually every geopolitical challenge of the past two decades. By naming a consummate insider, Francis appears to want to “reboot” the Vatican’s operating system back to a point when it was perceived to operate efficiently, rather than scrapping it entirely.

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