The man in charge of finding a replacement for Cardinal Pell in Sydney is Australia’s Apostolic Nuncio to the Holy See, Archbishop Paul Gallagher. Here he speaks to Kairos Catholic Journal about the role of the nunciature in Australia.
An apostolic or papal nuncio is the Church’s equivalent of a diplomat or ambassador. Archbishop Paul Gallagher was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Australia in December 2012, arriving in Canberra in March 2013.
‘Papal nuncios have a double role,’ Archbishop Gallagher said. ‘The first is that you’re an ambassador, to the Commonwealth of Australia in this case. The second is you’re representing the Holy Father to the local Catholic community—to the diocese, to the local bishops and also to all the faithful.’
‘The most important thing we do for the Holy Father is to guide the process by which bishops are selected.’
To appoint a new bishop, Archbishop Gallagher consults with the Australian bishops and archbishops, as well as the consulters of the diocese, to come up with a list of three candidates (known as the terna in Italian) to be thoroughly investigated.
‘If we have a diocese where we are putting forward a number of bishops, we only have to investigate the suitability of the bishop to be the new ordinary of that diocese,’ he said. ‘Whereas, if we are considering priests, we have to determine first of all their worthiness to be a bishop, and then their suitability to be the new diocesan bishop or auxiliary in a particular place.’
Archbishop Gallagher was born in Liverpool, England, and his own vocation was formed in his teenage years and inspired by the words of Jesus, 'what greater love has a man than to give his life for his friends.'
‘I thought if I give my life to the priesthood, to the Church, I would be doing that as an act of love to my friends. That was really the roots of my becoming a priest,’ he said.
FULL STORY Meet the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Paul Gallagher (Kairos)