Pope appoints Archbishop Fisichella to lead Council for New Evangelization

Among a flurry of announcements from the Holy See on Wednesday, the Holy Father officially nominated the current head of the Pontifical Academy for Life to lead the recently announced Pontifical Council for New Evangelization. Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella will lead the Church in the formidable challenge of re-evangelizing the "secularized" countries of the world.

With his nomination to the presidency of the new council, Archbishop Fisichella has been relieved of the reigns of the Pontifical Academy for Life (Pro Vita), where he had been the since June 2008, as well as his position as rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, which he had held since Jan. 2002.

Born in Codogno in northern Italy on August 25, 1951, Salvatore "Rino" Fisichella was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rome on March 13,1976 and became an auxiliary of the same diocese and Titular Bishop of Vicohabentia in 1988. He was made archbishop in 2008 after taking charge of the Academy for Life.

The prelate is also a member of the Vatican congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith and for the Causes of Saints.

The plan to create the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization Archbishop Fisichella will be heading was announced by Pope Benedict from the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-walls in Rome on Monday during the celebration of First Vespers for the eve of the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. The council will aim to address the "progressive secularization" of historically Christian areas of the world.

The Pope said then that it will have "the important task of promoting a renewed evangelization in countries where the first announcement of the faith has already resounded and Churches of ancient foundation are present, but are living (through) a progressive secularization of society and a sort of 'eclipse of the sense of God'."

A document on the new Council hasn't been published yet, Fr. Federico Lombardi explained to journalists on Wednesday. He added that it should not be expected to be released in the immediate future.

The Vatican spokesman said that the document defining the council needs to be prepared with more breadth, taking account of various suggestions and considerations. He pointed journalists to the Holy Father's words from vespers on the known details of the new dicastery.

Nominations to replace Archbishop Fisichella in his previous charges accompanied the Wednesday's announcement. To fill his shoes as rector at the Lateran University will be Fr. Enrico dal Covolo, a professor of ancient Greek Christian literature at the Pontifical Salesian University and member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology.

The new president of the Pontifical Academy for Life will be Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula who was the academy's chancellor.

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