Monday, January 22, 2007

Diplo Desk, Revisited

Earlier today, Benedict XVI named one of his Diplomatic Corps' rising stars -- an American -- to one of the geopolitical brief's most sensitive posts.

Msgr Michael Banach (Ba-NICK), 44, a priest of the diocese of Worcester, will head from his current post in San Damaso to serve as the Holy See's permanent representative at a host of international bodies based in Vienna. Among others, these include the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Association, the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the United Nations' outpost in the Austrian capital. In Vienna, Banach succeeds Archbishop-elect Leo Boccardi, whom the Pope tapped last week as his nuncio to the Sudan.

Quintilingual and with a JCD, Banach was ordained in 1988 and entered the papal diplomatic service in 1994. He served first at the nunciatures in Bolivia and Nigeria before brought back to Rome and the Second Section of the Secretariat of State.

On the ground, the newly-dispatched representative is seen as "bright, open-minded, inquisitive, clear about what the Church is, a Vatican II person" and on his way to being one of the church's "top-flight nuncios."

German wasn't listed as one of Banach's tongues of fluency, but such is his aecumen that, friends say, he'll have it down in no time.

Oh, and speaking of Stato, word is that the road to the sostituto's office runs through the Far East.... Stay tuned.