Pope Francis names fellow ascetic as Vatican secretary of state

The Guardian (United Kingdom)

theguardian.com, Saturday 31 August 2013

Pope Francis has attempted to set a new tone for a Vatican beset by scandals by naming a veteran diplomat as secretary of state, a role often called the “deputy pope”.

Archbishop Pietro Parolin’s appointment ends the era of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was widely blamed for failing to prevent the ethical and financial scandals that marked the eight-year reign of Pope Benedict, who resigned in February.

Parolin, a 58-year-old Italian who like Francis is known for his frugal lifestyle, is currently the Vatican’s nuncio in Venezuela.

The naming of a new secretary of state, who acts as the pope’s prime minister and chief aide, is the most significant appointment by Francis since his election in March.

Although he has no power to rule on doctrinal issues, he stands in when the pope is ill.

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