New papal diplomat department established

A new papal diplomat department inside the Vatican’s Secretariat of State has been established.

The department will oversee papal diplomats’ selection and work, career advancement and working conditions.

Named the “Section for the Diplomatic Staff of the Holy See”, the new department will be led by Archbishop Jan Romeo Pawlowski.

About 300 priest diplomats will be overseen by the department.

The move is part of Pope Francis’s Roman Curia reform.

In part it is seen as a sign of his appreciation of Vatican diplomacy and its ambassadors’ work.

It is also suggested that two recent allegations of diplomats’ sexual misconduct and other cases of ambassadors misrepresenting the pope influenced the decision.

Francis wrote to the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, about the new department.

He said he needs to “assure more fraternal attention and prompter human, priestly, spiritual and professional accompaniment to [diplomats].”

Vatican diplomats include heads of mission and collaborators.

Francis’s letter also said the department will help priests preparing for diplomatic work at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

Graduates may be posted outside the Vatican or may remain at the Secretariat of State before being ordained as archbishops.

Those ordained as archbishops can serve as papal nuncios.

The role of papal nuncios is another item being reviewed by Francis and his advisory body of cardinals.

Within this, finding better ways of supporting the nuncios is being considered.

At present, nuncios’ work includes representing the Pope in any given country and helping draw up shortlists for appointing bishops.


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