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New appointments due for Roman Curia?

April 29, 2011

Archbishop Fernando Filoni, the Vatican’s deputy Secretary of State or sostituto, will soon be named prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization, according to leading Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa.

Tornielli reports that Archbishop Filoni will be named to replace Cardinal Ivan Dias, who celebrated his 75th birthday last week and thus reached retirement age. The announcement of a replacement for Cardinal Dias has been heavily anticipated around Rome. The Congregation for Evangelization, or Propaganda Fidei, coordinates the work of the Church in mission territories. The prefect has considerable authority, with responsibility for the appointment of scores of bishops.

As sostituto, Archbishop Filoni already has become a key figure in the Roman Curia. The sostituto controls the flow of paperwork throughout the Vatican bureaucracy, and meets with the Pope on a daily basis. Typically, after serving as sostituto, a prelate is named prefect of a Roman congregation. In the 20th century two men who served as sostituto went on to become Popes: Benedict XV and Paul VI.

A native Italian, Archbishop Filoni had been apostolic nuncio in Iraq and in the Philippines before his appointment as sostituto in 2007.

According to Torniell’s report in La Stampa, Archbishop Filoni would be replaced at the Secretariat of State by Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, who is now the apostolic nuncio in Cuba. A veteran Vatican diplomat, Archbishop Becciu served in New Zealand, Great Britain, France, and the US before becoming apostolic nuncio in Angola—where he welcomed Pope Benedict in March 2009—and then Cuba.


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