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Pope names Liverpool native the Vatican’s foreign minister


Catholic News Service

forVATICAN CITY — Pope Francis named the 60-year-old nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, to be the Vatican’s new foreign minister.

The position, formally known as the secretary for relations with states, was held by the Morocco-born French Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, who was named Nov. 8 the new prefect of the Apostolic Signature, the Vatican’s highest court.

Archbishop Gallagher, a native of Liverpool, England, is a veteran of the Vatican diplomatic corps and had been named nuncio to Australia by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

In his first posting as a nuncio, St. John Paul II sent him to Burundi in 2004 to replace Archbishop Michael A. Courtney, who was gunned down by unknown assailants. The nuncio’s death in Burundi marked the first time in the modern age that a papal ambassador had been assassinated.

In an interview with Catholic News Service in 2000, then-Msgr. Gallagher said that although an ambassador’s life is filled with protocol, social niceties and cocktail parties, the Vatican foreign service counts less on “social animals” than on good priests.

The Holy See looks for “someone who can express his priesthood through his diplomatic work,” said the Liverpool-born cleric, who served as the Vatican permanent observer at the Council of Europe from 2000 to 2004.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1977, he later earned a degree in canon law and studied at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which trains Vatican diplomats. He joined the Vatican’s diplomatic service in 1984, serving in nunciatures in Tanzania, Uruguay and the Philippines. He worked at the Vatican Secretariat of State from 1994 to 2000, focusing particularly on Southeast Asia.

From 2009 to 2012, he served as nuncio to Guatemala.

The Archbishop Mamberti, 62, also is a veteran of the Vatican diplomatic corps and has been secretary for relations with states since September 2006.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1981, he holds degrees in civil and canon law. After entering the Vatican diplomatic corps in 1986, he held posts in Algeria, Chile, at the United Nations in New York, and in Lebanon. He was named an archbishop, nuncio to Sudan and apostolic delegate in Somalia in 2002 by St. John Paul II and was given additional responsibilities two years later as the nuncio to Eritrea.