Starting in mid-October,58-year-old Italian Archbishop Pietro Parolin will become Pope Francis right hand man in governing the Church. By virtue of his age, he will become one of the Vaticans youngest Secretary of State in history; replacing 78-year-old Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who has held this position for the past seven years.
Pietro Patrolin was, up until recently, the apostolic nuncio to Venezuela. He also worked at the embassies to Nigeria and Mexico, as well as in the Vatican Secretariat of State.In 2002, John Paul II named him as undersecretary for relations with states, a post he held for seven years.
Archbishop Parolin took part in several high stakes negotiations, including the warming of ties with Communist Vietnam, dialogue with the U.S. Government following the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and with Spain's socialist government under Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
The Italian showed great diplomatic and geopolitical skills. He is an expert in Latin American, Middle Eastern and African affairs. In this archive interview with Rome Reports back in 2004, he spoke about the impact of ties between the Catholic Church and Islam.
ARCH. PIETRO PAROLIN
October 30, 2004
"Of course, the path to dialogue can become long, and not always offer the best results in the short term. Dialogue must always take place with clarity, with great patience and reciprocal trust.”"I'd like to highlight that the relationship between Christians and Muslims in Africa can become an interesting laboratory, in search of peaceful coexistence. And of collaboration in favor of life, in all it's manifestations, of justice and of peace.”
Benedict XVI ordained him archbishop in September 2009, and assigned him as nuncio to Venezuela, at the peak of the popularity of the country's leader, Hugo Chavez.
Pope Francis called him back to Rome to help him propel the Vatican's presence in the international arena. He will also help the Pope in his reform of the Roman Curia.
His duties officially begin on October 15. That day, the Pope will meet with the Secretariat of State to publicly thank Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and introduce Archbishop Pietro Parolin.