Italian archbishop named as new Secretary of State

Pope Francis has named a veteran Vatican diplomat to be his top aide, announcing that Archbishop Pietro Parolin, 58, an Italian and former Deputy Foreign Minister at the Vatican, will take on the position of Secretary of State, held since 2006 by Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, reports AP in Ucanews.

Cardinal Bertone will remain in the post until October 15, giving Archbishop Parolin, currently serving as Papal Nuncio to Venezuela, time to prepare for his new duties as the Vatican’s No. 2 official.

The Pope is replacing a secretary of state who in recent years became an increasingly divisive figure in a church hierarchy mired in embarrassing scandal and financial probes.

The Vatican noted that Cardinal Bertone, 78, was retiring under a Church law that requires cardinals who hold top curia posts to offer their resignations when they turn 75. Benedict XVI, who retired as Pontiff this year, had kept him on, reportedly to the irritation of a rival faction of Vatican bureaucrats loyal to Cardinal Bertone’s predecessor, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

A scandal during the latter years of Benedict’s papacy, involving the theft of papal documents and revelations of alleged corruption and power plays at the Vatican, was widely seen as aiming to discredit Bertone.

Pope Francis will hold a special audience on October 15, the Vatican said, 'in order publicly to thank Cardinal Bertone for his faithful and generous service to the Holy See.;

The incoming No. 2, a native of the Veneto in north-eastern Italy, began his diplomatic career at the Vatican in 1986, and served in papal missions in Nigeria and Mexico. He was posted to Venezuela as Papal Nuncio in 2009.

FULL COVERAGE

Pope names veteran diplomat as new Secretary of State (Ucanews)

Pope's appointment of Parolin welcomed (Vatican Insider)

Pope reboots Vatican system with new Secretary of State (NCR)

Pope names Italian archbishop to top Vatican post (CNA)