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New Vatican envoy named to Iraq

Catholic World News - September 06, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has named a veteran Vatican diplomat to the sensitive post of apostolic nuncio in Iraq.

Archbishop-elect Giorgio Lingua, who has worked in the Vatican diplomatic corps since 1992, will represent the Holy See in Iraq at a time when Church leaders are pleading for greater protection against Islamic extremists. The new envoy, who has previously served in Serbia, Italy, the US, and Ivory Coast, will also represent the Holy See in Jordan. He will be holding the title of papal nuncio for the first time in his new capacity.

Archbishop-elect Lingua follows two Vatican envoys who had moved from the nunciature in Iraq to senior positions. The outgoing nuncio, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, was named in July to head the Vatican mission at UN headquarters in New York. The previous nuncio in Iraq, Archbishop Fernando Filoni—who earned special affection and respect from Iraqis when he declined to join other diplomats in flight from Baghdad before the start of the US bombing campaign—is now the sostituto, or deputy secretary of state, at the Vatican. The sostituto handles most of the day-to-day paperwork of the Roman Curia, and is one of the few people will immediate daily access to the Pope.

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