Pope appoints new undersecretary, sends important diplomat to Venezuela

.- This morning Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Ettore Balestrero as the new Undersecretary of the Section for Relations with States, a department within the Vatican Secretariat of State.

Bishop Ettore Balestrero was born in Genoa, Italy on December 21, 1966. After attending law school, he entered the Almo Collegio Capranica for the Diocese of Rome and was ordained priest on September 18, 1993.

He earned a degree in theology and a doctorate in Canon Law. After serving in the Parish of Santa Maria Mater Ecclesiae al Torrino in Rome, he became a student at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.

He joined the diplomatic service of the Holy See on July 1, 1996 and was assigned to work at the Apostolic nunciatures of Korea, Mongolia and the Netherlands.

Since 2001, Bishop Balestrero has served in Relations with States section, where he will now serve as the Undersecretary. Besides Italian, he speaks English, French, Spanish, German and Dutch.

Bishop Balestrero will be taking the place of  Archbishop Pietro Parolin, who was appointed today as the new Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela. Archbishop Parolin had served as the undersecretary for the Secretary of State since 2002.

The new assignment for Parolin will be a difficult one since conflicts between the State and Church in Venezuela are on the rise as Hugo Chavez attempts to further implement his socialist revolution. 

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