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New Vatican Secretary of State undergoes surgery, misses handover ceremony

October 15, 2013

Archbishop Pietro Parolin was absent from the October 15 ceremony inaugurating his term as the Vatican's new Secretary of State, having been hospitalized for surgery.

The Vatican said that Archbishop Parolin needed "urgent" surgery, but the procedure was a minor one. Pope Francis said that the new Secretary of State should be able to assume his responsibilities "in a few weeks."

Archbishop Parolin, a veteran Vatican diplomat, was appointed to his new position by Pope Francis on August 31. He replaces Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who is retiring at the age of 78 after 7 years in the powerful post.

Vatican officials declined to provide details about the archbishop's surgery, or even to identify the hospital where he was staying.


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