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Rome Reports

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Pope appoints layperson to oversee Vatican body on Latin America

Pope Francis has appointed a new secretary to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, lay philosophy professor, Rodrigo Guerra López of Mexico, making him one of the highest ranking laypersons in the hierarchy of the Church.

The Commission is formally tasked with studying the principal questions of Catholic life in Latin America, and encouraging collaboration between the Vatican and the Latin American Bishops' Conference.

Professor Guerra Lopez is a member of the Pontifical Academies for Life and Social Sciences, where he researches questions of human rights and ethics. 

As an academic, he has promoted the Pope's call to see the world's issues through the lens of human dignity. 

"The Pope educates us in the idea that everything is connected. Everything has synergy and relationship with everything else. That is why water is as important as the situation of the poor. It is equally important to focus on waste programs as climate change."

Professor Guerra Lopez's role was previously filled by Guzmán Carriquiry, the lay Uruguayan who is now his country's ambassador to the Holy See. 

The Pope also named theologian Emilce Cuda of Argentina as the Commission's head of office. Professor Cuda is currently a lecturer at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, and at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. She is the first woman to be named to the position.