The new Secretary of State

The new Secretary of State

Is the new Vatican secretary of state going to be Pope Benedict's former righthand man at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone of Genoa? That's the prediction by Philip Lawler and a number of other Vatican watchers. It's possible we'll find out in the first week of June.

This will be the most important appointment yet for Pope Benedict because State is the second-highest ranking member of the Vatican bureaucracy after the Pope. While the name reminds us of the US Secretary of State, the Vatican office is more like Prime Minister in countries with a separate head of state or the in monarchies, the king's chancellor. The Secretary is responsible for just about everything that goes on in the Vatican apart from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The man who holds the office is also often considered papabile.

And a note to Dan Brown: The Secretariat is the department and bureacucracy; the man and his office are known as Secretary.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli