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Pope names new ‘foreign minister,’ prefect of Apostolic Signatura; Cardinal Burke given new position

November 08, 2014

The Holy See Press Office announced on November 8 that Pope Francis has named Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, as the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.

Archbishop Mamberti replaces Cardinal Raymond Burke, who has served as prefect since 2008. No prelate has served in the position for longer than six years since Cardinal Dino Staffa, who was prefect from 1967 to 1977.

Born in Morocco in 1952, Archbishop Mamberti was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Ajaccio (France) in 1981. He earned degrees in civil and canon law and represented the Holy See as apostolic nuncio to Sudan (2002-06), apostolic delegate to Somalia (2002-04), and apostolic nuncio to Eritrea (2004-06). In 2006, Pope Benedict appointed him the Secretary for Relations with States, and thus the Vatican’s “foreign minister.”

Confirming reports that have circulated for weeks, Cardinal Burke has been named patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, succeeding Cardinal Paolo Sardi, who is 80. The appointment of Cardinal Burke, who is 66, to a primarily ceremonial role has been widely interpreted as a deliberate demotion, and has prompted protests from conservative Catholics. The American prelate has emerged as the most outspoken figure at the Vatican, voicing his concerns about the perception that Catholic doctrine is in question and pressing for a clear reaffirmation of Church teachings.

Pope Francis also named Archbishop Paul Gallagher the new Secretary for Relations with States. Born in 1954, Archbishop Gallagher was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Liverpool (England) in 1977. He has served as apostolic nuncio to Burundi (2004-09), Guatemala (2009-12), and Australia (since 2012).

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  • Posted by: filioque - Nov. 10, 2014 7:56 PM ET USA

    It could be worse. In the 15th century, a cardinal who incurred papal displeasure could be filed away in a cubbyhole in the Castel Sant'Angelo. Cardinal Burke will thrive and we will be the better for it.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Nov. 09, 2014 7:25 PM ET USA

    St. John the Evangelist wrote his best work in exile.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Nov. 08, 2014 2:39 PM ET USA

    Articles like this remind me of the years that Padre Pio was forbidden to preach, say Mass publicly, or hear confessions. They were difficult times, but Padre Pio rose high above them, and was eventually vindicated. Let's all ask for patience and the grace to know the Will of the Lord.