Pope’s new “Foreign Minister” hails from Muslim world
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.- As the changes at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State kick into high gear today, Pope Benedict XVI moved quickly to fill a vacant slot with a man born and raised in mostly Islamic Morocco.  Archbishop Dominique Mamberti will take charge as the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States after having served as the Pope’s representative to such troubled zones as Sudan and Somalia.

Benedict made his announcement just after welcoming Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone as the new head of the Secretariat of State.  Mamberti will work under Bertone and takes over for Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, who also started his new job as the “Governor” of the Vatican City State today.

The 54 year old Mamberti was born in Marrakech, Morocco in 1952.  He was ordained a priest in 1981, for the French Diocese of Ajaccio, on the island of Corsica.  

The archbishop completed degrees in both civil and cannon law before entering service with the Vatican’s diplomatic corps in 1986.  As a priest, he served tours in the Vatican delegations to Algeria, Chile, and Lebanon, as well as serving a stint at the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the U.N., in New York.

Prior to being made a bishop and sent to the Sudan in 2002 Mamberti also worked in the offices of the section he now leads.  

He served as Apostolic Nuncio to Sudan and Delegate to Somalia for two years, working with the bishops in those countries as they attempted to achieve peace between their people and radical Muslims.  In February of 2004 he was appointed Nuncio to nearby Eritrea, where he has served to the present.  

The Vatican lists Mamberti as fluent in French, Italian, English, and Spanish.

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