New Secretary of State named

The Tablet (United Kingdom)

Robert Mickens in Rome – 31 August 2013

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Pietro Parolin, apostolic nuncio to Venezuela for the last four years, as his new Secretary of State.

The 58-year-old northern Italian will officially begin his new duties on 15 October. He replaces Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone SDB, a controversial figure who had held the Vatican’s second-highest post since September 2006.

The appointment of Archbishop Parolin returns a career papal diplomat from the so-called “Casaroli School” to the helm of the Secretariat of State, the Holy See’s principal administrative bureau dealing with both internal Church affairs and international diplomacy. Cardinal Bertone, a Salesian canon lawyer, had no diplomatic or international experience and limited foreign language skills. A long-time aide of Benedict XVI, stemming from their days at the helm of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the now 78-year-old cardinal was depicted as the scapegoat in the VatiLeaks affair for his inefficiency in running the Roman Curia.

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