Pope taps veteran diplomat as Vatican’s new ‘prime minister’

Religion News Service

Alessandro Speciale | Aug 31, 2013

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Making the first major appointment of his pontificate, Pope Francis on Saturday (Aug. 30) named Archbishop Pietro Parolin as the Vatican’s new Secretary of State, a role that is often described as the Vatican’s “prime minister.”

He will replace Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a trusted aide of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI whose lack of diplomatic training had been blamed for the mismanagement and scandals that plagued the Vatican in recent years.

Parolin, a 58-year old Italian, is a veteran of the Vatican’s diplomatic corps and will take office on October 15.

He is currently the Holy See’s ambassador to Venezuela and served in the past as the Undersecretary for Relations with States, a role similar to deputy foreign minister.

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