Friday, September 15, 2006

The Revolution Begins

Minutes ago, at the end of the just-concluded audience with the Secretariat of State marking the handover of its top job from Cardinal Angelo Sodano to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Benedict XVI personally announced the appointment of Archbishop Dominique Francois Joseph Mamberti, the nuncio in the Sudan and Eritrea, as the new Secretary for Relations with States, the Vatican's top foreign relations post.

The name of Mamberti, 54, had surfaced in imminent pre-appointment speculation in the Italian press. He was ordained a bishop in 2002, when he was assigned to the nunciature in Khartoum. The Holy See's new "foreign minister" previously served at the nunciatures in Algeria and Chile, the UN mission in New York, then returned as a staffer to San Damaso's Second Section; he speaks French, English, Spanish and, of course, Italian.

Though born in Marrakesh, Mamberti was ordained for the French diocese of Ajaccio. He succeeds Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, who today formally takes the reins of the Governatorato -- the government of the Vatican City-State -- on the official retirement of Cardinal Edmund Szoka, the onetime archbishop of Detroit.

As a parting gift, the Pope gave his now-former top lieutenant a replica of the state of Our Lady of Altoetting, where he was by Benedict's side on Monday.

More soon.