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Pope appoints Archbishop Pietro Parolin as new Vatican Secretary of State

August 31, 2013 - In the most significant appointment of his 5-month old pontificate yet, Pope Francis on Saturday named a new Vatican Secretary of State. The Pontiff, who was elected on March 13, nominated Italian Archbishop Pietro Parolin to the post equivalent to prime minister and traditionally the most important figure in the Vatican after the Pope himself. The Vatican announced that 58-year-old Archbishop Parolin will take over from Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone, who is stepping down, having reached the retirement age of 75 three years ago. However, Cardinal Bertone, who has been in the job since Sept. 15, 2006, will remain in charge until Oct 15 when the new Secretary of State will take over. On that occasion the Pope will receive the heads and officials of the Secretariat of State to publicly thank Cardinal Bertone for his faithful and generous service to the Holy See, and to present them the new Secretary of State.
Archbishop Parolin was born on Jun. 17, 1955 in Schiavon, Italy, and was ordained priest for Vicenza Diocese on Apr. 27, 1980. With a degree in Canon Law, he entered the Holy See’s diplomatic mission in July, 1986, and served in Nigeria, Mexico and in the Section for Relations with States of the Vatican Secretariat of State, where he was appointed Undersecretary on Nov. 30, 2002. On Aug. 17, 2009, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela as well as archbishop. Pope Benedict XVI consecrated him bishop on Sept. 12, 2009. Archbishop Pietro Parolin speaks French, English and Spanish besides his native Italian. Although the pope is the head of Vatican City State, the Secretary of State generally functions as the Vatican’s head of government, both for internal church affairs and for diplomatic relations, making him, effectively, the prime minister.
Along with the appointment of Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis has confirmed several others at the Secretariat of State in their respective posts. They are Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the Substitute for General Affairs; Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Secretary for Relations with States; Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the Prefect of the Pontifical Household, Msgr. Peter Wells, the Assessor for General Affairs; and Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Under-secretary for Relations with States.


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