National Catholic Register


Pope Chooses Humble and Respected Diplomat as Secretary of State

BY Edward Pentin

| Posted 8/31/13 at 2:07 PM


Pope Francis today appointed Archbishop Pietro Parolin, until now the Pope's diplomatic representative to Venezuela, as the new Vatican Secretary of State.

The 58 year-old apostolic nuncio replaces Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who will step down from heading the most important dicastery in the Roman Curia on October 15th. 

A modest, humble and highly competent Italian diplomat, Archbishop Parolin is well regarded in Rome. He is also the youngest prelate to be appointed Secretary of State since Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) in 1930 at the age of 53.

We will publish a full report on the appointment soon. In the meantime, here is Archbisop Parolin's statement, released today by the Vatican, and short biographical details.


At this moment, in which my appointment as Secretary of State is made public, I desire to express deep and affectionate gratitude to the Holy Father, Francis, for the unmerited trust he is showing me, and to make known to him once again my willingness and complete availability to work with him and under his guidance for the greater glory of God, the good of the Holy Church, and the progress and peace of humanity, that humanity might find reasons to live and to hope.

I feel very strongly the grace of this call, which is yet another and the latest of God’s surprises in my life. Above all, I feel the full weight of the responsibility placed upon me:  this call entrusts to me a difficult and challenging mission, before which my powers are weak and my abilities poor. For this reason, I entrust myself to the merciful love of the Lord, from whom nothing and no one can ever separate me, and to the prayers of all. I thank all those who have shown and who, starting now, will show me understanding, as well as for any and all manner of help that anyone might desire to offer me in my new undertaking.

My thoughts go to my family and to all the persons who have been part of my life: in the parishes into which I was born and in which I served; in the dear Diocese of Vicenza; at Rome; in the countries in which I have worked – from Nigeria, to Mexico, and most recently in Venezuela, which I am sorry to leave. I think also of Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, who ordained me bishop, I think of the Secretariat of State, which was my home for many years, of His Eminence, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, of the other Superiors, colleagues and collaborators and of the whole Roman Curia, as well as of all those who represent the Holy Father and the Holy See diplomatically around the world. I owe a great debt to them all.

It is with trepidation that I place myself in this new service to the Gospel, to the Church and to Pope Francis, but also with trust and serenity – disposed – as the Holy Father has asked us from the beginning – to walk, to build and to profess.
May our Lady, whom I like to invoke under her titles as Our Lady of Monte Berico, Guadalupe and Coromoto, give us, "The courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord’s Cross; to build the Church on the Lord’s blood which was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward."

And, as they say in Venezuela, "¡Que Dios les bendiga!".

Caracas, 31 agosto 2013


His Excellency Mons. Pietro Parolin was born in Schiavon (Vicenza) January 17, 1955.
He was ordained on April 27, 1980 and incardinated in the Diocese of Vicenza.
He holds a degree in Canon Law.
He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See on 1 July 1986, and served at the Pontifical Representations in Nigeria and Mexico and at the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State.
He was appointed Under-Secretary of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State on 30 November 2002.
On 17 August 2009 he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela and elevated at the time to the titular see of Acquapendente, with the dignity of archbishop. He received episcopal ordination from the hands of Pope Benedict XVI on September 12 of that year.
In addition to Italian, he knows French, English and Spanish.