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Pope names new Vatican vice-chamberlain

July 23, 2012

Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, the retired secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, has been named by Pope Benedict XVI to become vice-chamberlain of the Church.

The vice-chamberlain assists the chamberlain, who becomes the chief administrator of Vatican affairs and head of the Vatican city-state upon the death of a Roman Pontiff. (Currently the chamberlain is the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.) Once the cardinals enter into conclave—with the chamberlain among them—the vice-chamberlain is responsible for preventing outside attacks on the security of the conclave.

Archbishop Celata--a 75-year-old Italian who had previously served as papal nuncio in Malta, Slovenia, Turkey, Belgium, and Luxembourg—replaces Cardinal Paolo Sardi, who retired in January at the age of 77, shortly after being raised to the College of Cardinals.

The previous vice-chamberlain, Cardinal Santos Abril y Castell, served in that post for less than a year in 2011 before being named archpriest of the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major; he too was raised to the rank of cardinal.


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