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A new Vatican secretary of state

As expected, Pope Francis today named Italian Archbishop Pietro Parolin as his new secretary of state. The move is important primarily because it brings diplomacy front and center to a position that for the last seven years was held by a non-diplomat. Archbishop Parolin, 58, is known around the Vatican as super-skilled in foreign affairs, having served in Vatican embassies (called nunciatures) in Mexico, Nigeria and, most recently, in Venezuela as apostolic nuncio. He is a graduate of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the Vatican’s diplomatic school, where students are hand-picked. From 2002 to 2009, Parolin worked at the Secretariat of State’s headquarters at the Vatican, serving as th

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