And one day before June 23, the announcement is made. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone of Genoa has been named the Vatican’s Secretary of State. My hint about June 23 related to the fact that Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the present Secretary, is having his retirement party tomorrow and the invitations for it had been sent out and it would have been awkward to have a party without an official announcement. Bertone will officially take up his new office—which is the equivalent of Prime Minister—on September 15.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, who is presently Secretary for Relations with States—equivalent to Foreign Minister, has been named as president of the Vatican city-state government, replacing Cardinal Edmund Szoka, who is also retiring.
The Secretary of State is the most powerful man in the Roman Curia. All Vatican dicasteries, except the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), report to him.
Bertone is a Salesian priest, is 71 years old, and was the secretary when Pope Benedict was prefect of the CDF. He is the first non-diplomat to hold the office since the French Cardinal Jean Villot who was appointed by Pope Paul VI in 1969.
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