Benedict XVI chooses insider as new prefect of Congregation for the Clergy


The 66-year-old secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy was appointed today as its new prefect. Archbishop Mauro Piacenza will bring many years of inside experience to the role in which he will oversee the world's Catholic priests.

The announcement of Archbishop Mauro Piacenza as the new prefect came from the Holy See's Press Office just after noon on Thursday along with the news that the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" had also received a new president.

Archbishop Piacenza will oversee the congregation's three main responsibilities: general management of the training, formation and pastoral ministry of priests; oversight and promotion of the catechetical formation of all faithful of all states of life; and the administration of legal matters relating to care for the clergy and parishes.

Archbishop Piacenza was born in Genoa, Italy in 1944, was ordained a priest in 1969 and is a Canon Law expert. He has served as a professor of Canon Law and has also taught on the subjects of contemporary culture and the history of atheism.

Since 1990, he has served on and off in various roles within the Congregation for Clergy. His first full position within the department came in 1997 when he was named "Capo Ufficio" (office manager) and served as its sub-secretary from 2000-2003. He was then appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Cultural Patrimony.

In May of 2007, then-Bishop Piacenza returned to the Congregation for Clergy as secretary, maintaining his responsibilities as president of both the commission for cultural patrimony and the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology for another five months. Shortly after the appointment he was made archbishop.

Cardinal Claudio Hummes, native of Brazil and member of the Order of Friars Minor, thus resigns after nearly four years of service as the prefect of the congregation. His resignation was imminent as he had reached the retirement age of 75 for members of the Roman Curia over a year ago.

The position traditionally raises one to the rank of cardinal, so Archbishop Piacenza may be elected at the next consistory which could take place as soon as November.

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