Pope names veteran Vatican diplomat to be Holy See No. 2, replacing divisive top aide


VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has tapped a veteran Vatican diplomat to replace the Holy See’s secretary of state who in recent years increasingly became a divisive figure in the church’s hierarchy.

The Vatican announced today that an Italian archbishop, Pietro Parolin, 58, will take up the post held since 2006 by Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, starting Oct. 15.

Bertone, 78, who had been expected to retire soon, was widely thought to have been disliked by another faction in the curia, or bureaucracy.

The scandal, involving the theft of papal documents and embarrassing revelations of alleged corruption and power plays at the Vatican, was widely seen at aiming to discredit the cardinal during the latter years of Benedict XVI’s papacy.

Parolin, formerly Vatican deputy foreign minister, currently serves as papal envoy to Venezuela.