Tag Archives: papal nuncio

Pope Francis establishes third section for diplomatic staff at Secretariat of State

Archbishop Jan Romeo Pawlowski has been appointed by Pope Francis to helm the third section in October 2017.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has established a third section, or department, of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, which reportedly began its operations on 9 Nov 2017. The new section is named “Section for the Diplomatic Staff,” and is tasked with overseeing the Holy See’s diplomatic corps, stationed around the world.

Archbishop Jan Romeo Pawlowski has been appointed to helm the third section. Previously the apostolic nuncio to Gabon, in 2015 Archbishop Pawlowski was appointed head of the Office for Pontifical Representations, a sort of “human resources office” within the Secretariat of State.

That office has been now elevated into an independent department, alongside the two sections that already constitute the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

The First Section of the Secretariat of State oversees the general affairs of the Roman Curia, and is led by the Secretariat’s “substitute,” currently Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu.

The second section, the “Section for the Relations with States,” is entrusted with the diplomatic activity of the Holy See. At the helm of the office is the Secretary for Relations with States, often described as the Vatican “foreign minister.”  Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, of Great Britain, holds the post.

The Pope established the third section via a letter sent in October to Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and delivered to the Apostolic Nunciatures, the embassies of the Holy See, around over the world.

In his letter, the Pope expressed that he had “great care for those who assist the ministry of Rome,” both “those who work in the Holy See, and in the Vatican City State, and in the Apostolic See” and its related institutions.

The Pope recalled his address to the Roman Curia for the 2013 Christmas greeting and said that “since the beginning” he proposed the criteria of “professionalism, service, and holiness of life” in order to be a good Vatican official.

Pope Francis also underscored that he expressed “vivid appreciation” for the work of “pontifical representatives,” an “important work, that undergoes peculiar difficulties.”

He then explained that his decision was motivated by the need to provide “more human, priestly, spiritual and professional accompaniment” to those who are “in the diplomatic service of the Holy See,” whether they are heads of mission or even students at the Ecclesiastical Academy, where young priests are trained for diplomatic service.

The letter says that “the Office of the Delegate for the Pontifical Representation is strengthened into a Third Section, with the name of Section for the Diplomatic Staff of the Holy See”; the office “will depend on the Secretary of State,” will be given  “a proper number of officials” and will demonstrate “the Pope’s attention to the diplomatic staff.”

The Pope’s letter also says that the delegate “will be able to regularly visit pontifical representatives” and will oversee the “permanent selection” of staff as well of “career advancement” for diplomatic personnel.

According to a source within the Secretariat of State, this reform is just one step toward a general reorganisation of the Secretariat of State.

The Council of Cardinals has discussed several times the importance of clarifying and supporting the role of nuncios and diplomatic staff. – CNA/EWTN News

Local bishops urged to make the church’s mission more effective in the lives of the people

JOHOR BAHRU – At the 100th Plenary Session of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei (CBCMSB), eleven arch/bishops of the region were urged to “to make the mission of the Church effectively more present in the daily lives of the people entrusted to our care.”

For that to happen, the Church herself must constantly reform and purify herself, said Archbishop Joseph Marino, Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia and Apostolic Delegate to Brunei.

He added,  “This is to ensure that nothing stands in the way, hinders or complicates the relationship between the Lord and His people for whom we are shepherds.”

Archbishop Marino, who opened the bi-annual meeting of the CBC, held at Majodi Centre, Plentong on 10-14 July 2017, directed his address to his audience based on the Holy Father’s reflection on reform dedicated to the Roman Curia in December 2016.

The pope said that this logic has been the theological basis or foundation for the reform of the Roman Curia (RC), adding that, “to assure that no one, as a result of the institution or its organisms, would feel removed, distant or even worse unable or impeded to approach the Lord himself.”

First, the Holy Father said, it should be interpreted as “conforming” itself to the Good News, the Gospel, which must be proclaimed joyously and courageously to all, especially to the poor, the least and the outcast (RC).”

The nuncio stressed that the Curia and by extension all institutions of the Church must conform to the signs of the times and to all human achievements, so that, as the Holy Father said, we can “better meet the needs of the men and women we are called to serve.”

Second, the Church structures are understood as assisting the bishop in his office as pastor, and therefore must be guided by an ecclesiology of service and care for the salvation of souls.

Reform then, the nuncio said, requires a sense of conversion and represents a sign of life in the Church, both at the universal level and the local level.

Pope Francis, he said, affirmed that the Curia “is not an immobile bureaucratic apparatus” but something that must always be changed as the Church walks on her pilgrim way.

The same is true for the local offices, structures and even programmes and pastoral approaches. No part of the Church is free from constant evaluation and reform.

To begin with, such institutions must be staffed by people who themselves are renewed and are open to change and conversion and purification. In any institution, “without a change in mentality, efforts at practical improvement will be in vain” (RC).

Simply put, reform, which is based on conformity to the Gospel and an ecclesiology of service for the good of souls, requires “an ongoing personal and structural process of conversion” (RC).

An authentic reform of the structures of the Church makes them more apt to serve the Gospel and the people of God.

After giving the theological/philosophical foundation for the reform, the Holy Father then listed twelve principles that have guided his reform of the Roman Curia, and they are: individual responsibility, pastoral concern, missionary spirit, organisational clarity, improved functioning, modernisation, sobriety, subsidiarity, synodality, catholicity, professionalism and gradualism.

The pope further sub-defined the groups of principles under headings such as personal conversion, pastoral conversion and Christocentrism, which are rooted in His Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel.

The nuncio dwelt at length into the principles of pastoral and missionary conversion, personal and communal conversion, administrative and pastoral approaches, evangelical spirit, Gospel-centred and service-centred, path of synodality, etc (details found in The Joy of the Gospel).

Concluding his address, Abp Marino said it is the hope of Pope Francis that “we will move from remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe.”

He added, “What should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life.” – Vincent D’Silva

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