August 27, 2019

How the Vatican Secretariat of State is changing

By Andrea Gagliarducci
The Apostolic Palace, where the headquarters of the Secretariat of State are - credit: Andrea Gagliarducci / ACI Group
The Apostolic Palace, where the headquarters of the Secretariat of State are - credit: Andrea Gagliarducci / ACI Group

It is time for change within the ranks of the Vatican Secretariat of State. On July 26th, two officials of the Secretariat of State were promoted to new positions, while others are leaving the central office in Rome to take over a new position in the Papal nunciatures, that are the Papal embassies.
 
One year after the appointment of Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra as deputy of the Secretariat of State, the Secretariat of State start renewing its ranks.
 
Monsignor Carlo Maria Polvani, who headed to Office for information of the Vatican Secretariat of State, was appointed undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pontifical Council of Culture.
 
Monsignor Polvani was replaced at the head of the Office for Information by monsignor Mauro Carlino. Monsignor Carlino, 41, served for a long time as secretary of Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu when this latter was the deputy of the Secretariat of State.
 
Monsignor Alberto Perlasca was appointed deputy Promotor of Justice at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura after he spent a decade as the head of the administrative section of the Secretariat of State.
 
According to rumors, the new head of the administration will be the Lithuanian monsignor Rolandas Makrickas. 

Monsignor Makrickas worked from 2013 to 2017 in the Apostolic Nunciature of Washington and was called to serve in Rome after two years as chargeé d’affairs at the Apostolic Nunciature of Gabon and Counsellor to the Apostolic Nunciature in Congo. 
 
These two offices of the Secretariat of State are critical. 
 
The office for information of the Secretariat of State is the interface between the Secretariat of State and the Dicastery for Communication. 

As head of the office, monsignor Polvani was also involved in the commission to revise the Vatican media reform. The director of the office also serves as the Holy See representative in the Government Advisory Committee of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and number. 
 
The position of administrative director of the Secretariat of State is critical, too. The office is considered the situation room for the Holy See’s economic and administrative policies. It also boasts the Peter Pence and the funds of Vatican foundations. 
 
Italians have always led the office, and it is rumored that it was not in good terms with the Secretariat for the Economy. The establishment of the Secretariat for the Economy led by Cardinal George Pell represented the first time that the Vatican economy was under the hands of a non-Italian.  Now, a Lithuanian will lead the office, thus breaking with the past.
 
Secretariat of State also has a juridical office. The head of the office was Monsignor Sergio Aumenta, now sent back to his home diocese of Asti. 
 
Monsignor Mark Miles, well known to be the translator of Pope Francis during international trips, will leave the Secretariat of State to serve in Washington, DC, in a new position as likely "permanent observer" at the Organization of the American States. It is the first time the Holy See will have an office dedicated to the OAS. Until now, the position has been held by the Holy See Permanent Observer to United Nations. 
 
Even the staff of Cardinal Pietro Parolin is going to be reshaped.

Monsignor Robert Murphy, his first secretary, has been promoted counselor of nunciature and sent to the nunciature to India. 
 
Monsignor Giancarlo Dellagiovanna, cardinal Parolin’s ‘ghostwriter,’ will serve at the nunciature in the Netherlands.
 
All of this moves show an ongoing transition within the Secretariat of State. One year after the appointment of the new deputy and given the Curia reform, the Secretariat of State staff is going to be reshaped.

* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.