Pope Francis names diplomat as secretary of state, 'deputy pope'
VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis on
Saturday made the most significant
appointment of his pontificate so far,
naming a veteran diplomat as his
secretary of state, Vatican prime
minister and chief aide - a role often
called the "deputy pope".
Archbishop Pietro Parolin's
appointment ends the era of Cardinal
Tarciscio Bertone, who was widely
blamed for failing to prevent ethical
and financial scandals that marked the
eight-year reign of former Pope
Benedict, who resigned in February.
Parolin, a 58-year-old Italian, is
currently the Vatican's nuncio
(ambassador) in Venezuela and was
the Vatican's deputy foreign minister
for seven years until 2009.
The pope's choice of his secretary of
state is important because he sets the
tone for the Vatican's central
administration, known as the Curia, as
well as the Vatican's diplomatic
missions around the world.
Bertone, 79, who was secretary of
state for nearly all of Benedict's
pontificate, was widely accused of not
keeping a close enough watch on the
Curia, some of whose members have
been accused of corruption and
One of the most damaging scandals to
hit the Vatican under Bertone was
"Vatileaks", when Benedict's butler
stole sensitive documents alleging
corruption from the pope's desk and
leaked them to the media.