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New section created in Vatican Secretariat of State

November 20, 2017

Pope Francis has created a new section of the Vatican Secretariat of State, to coordinate the work of papal diplomats, the veteran Vatican journalist Sandro Magister of L’Espresso reports.

Quoting at length from an October letter in which the Pontiff set up the new section, L’Espresso discloses that the new section will be called the Section fo Diplomatic Personnel of the Holy See. Pope Francis writes that the office is designed “to assure on my part a more fraternal attention and a more diligent human, priestly, spiritual, and professional accompaniment” for Vatican diplomats.

The new office will become the third main section of the Secretariat of State. The first two sections are the Section for General Affairs, which coordinates all the normal operations of the Roman Curia; and the Section for Relations with States, which handles foreign affairs. Each section is headed by an archbishop: the Sostituto (Substitute) for General Affairs and the Secretary for Relations with States.

The head of the new office—who has not yet been named—will be responsible for maintaining contacts with apostolic nuncios, and visiting pontifical embassies when appropriate. The Pope’s instructions indicate that the office will “deal , as its name indicates, with all the questions and issues - as for example the selection, initial and permanent formation, conditions of life and of service, promotions, authorizations, local personnel, etc. - relating to the persons who work in the diplomatic service of the Holy See or are preparing to do so.” The new section will also supervise the work of the Pontifical Ecclesial Academy, the Vatican institution that prepares clerics for work in the diplomatic service.


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