News / Europe

Pope Names Diplomat as Chief Aide

Pope Francis makes the most significant appointment of his pontificate so far on Aug. 31, 2013, naming Pietro Parolin, a veteran diplomat as his secretary of state, Vatican prime minister and chief aide.
Pope Francis makes the most significant appointment of his pontificate so far on Aug. 31, 2013, naming Pietro Parolin, a veteran diplomat as his secretary of state, Vatican prime minister and chief aide.
Reuters
— Pope Francis attempted to set a new tone for a Vatican beset by scandals on Saturday by naming a veteran diplomat as secretary of state, a role often called the "deputy pope".
    
Archbishop Pietro Parolin's appointment ends the era of Cardinal Tarcisio 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 who, like Francis, is known for his frugal lifestyle, is currently the Vatican's nuncio (ambassador) in Venezuela.
    
The naming of a new secretary of state - who acts as the pope's prime minister and chief aide - is the most significant appointment by Francis since his election in March.
    
Although he has no power to rule on doctrinal issues, the secretary of state sits in when the pope is ill.
    
He sets the tone for the Vatican's central administration, known as the Curia, and is involved in everything from finances and the appointment of bishops to diplomatic relations with more than 170 countries.
    
Bertone, 79, who was secretary of state for nearly all of Benedict's pontificate, was accused of not keeping a close enough watch on the Curia, some of whose members have been accused of corruption and cronyism.
    
One of the most damaging scandals to hit the Vatican under Bertone was "Vatileaks", when Benedict's butler stole documents alleging corruption from the pope's desk and leaked them to the media.
    
That coincided with tumult at the Vatican bank, which Italian magistrates are investigating on suspicion of money laundering.
    
The former president of the bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was close to Bertone. The board of the bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), ousted Gotti Tedeschi last year, saying he was incompetent. He says he was pushed out  because he wanted the bank to be more transparent.
    
Saturday's appointment was the pope's fourth move to overhaul the Vatican's central administration.
    
A month after his election, he set up an advisory board of eight cardinals to help him govern the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church and reform the Curia.
    
He has also set up another commission to advise him on how to reform the Vatican bank, ordered tighter supervision of the financial institute and set up a third commission of external experts to advise him on economic affairs, improve transparency and enforce accounting principles.
    
Parolin was the Vatican's deputy foreign minister for seven years until 2009 and has also served in Nigeria and Mexico.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid