Pope Francis starts key reshuffle in top Church ranks

BBC News

By David Willey
BBC News, Rome

Archbishop Pietro Parolin, a 58-year-old Vatican diplomat, is to take over the key post of top foreign policy adviser and deputy to Pope Francis in October. He replaces Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who has been a controversial and divisive figure in the Vatican corridors of power.

Archbishop Parolin’s appointment as Vatican Secretary of State marks the beginning of a major reshuffle among the men who run the Roman Curia.

When a Pope dies or steps down, as happened in the case of former Pope Benedict last February, all Vatican senior clerics automatically lose their jobs.

Pope Francis temporarily reinstated all former department heads, including Cardinal Bertone, while he was planning a radical restructuring of the central government of the Catholic Church.

Now, after nearly six months in office, Pope Francis has set in motion a timetable for Vatican administrative reform.

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