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Secretary-general of Vatican Governorate raised to rank of bishop

October 15, 2013

Pope Francis has indicated that Father Fernando Vergez Alzaga, the newly appointed secretary-general of the Vatican City Governorate, will have the rank of a bishop.

When the Pope named Father Alzaga to become secretary-general of the Governorate, replacing Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, the Vatican announcement did not include the customary statement that the new official would be ordained as a bishop. That omission was interpreted by some Vatican-watchers as an indication that the Pontiff wished to downgrade the status of the Governorate.

However the Pope has now written to Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the president of the Governorate, to say that “I have decided to elevate Father Fernando Vergez Alzaga LC to the dignity of bishop.”

The Pope explained that the work of the secretary-general involves a duty to “undertake directly the human and Christian formation of employees and collaborators, to coordinate the priests charged with the task of spiritual assistance, who are already present in the various sectors, and to promote appropriate initiatives, especially in conjunction with the pastoral programs of the universal Church and in the Tempi Forti of the liturgical year.” In light of those pastoral responsibilities it is fitting that the secretary-general should be a bishop, the Pontiff wrote.


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  • Posted by: abc - Oct. 15, 2013 6:59 PM ET USA

    This is a good development. The Vatican should always say why its official positions require bishops. This is often not clear, leaving the impression that the Sacrament is used only as an honorific / political matter.