Conservative Vigano is out as Vatican Nuncio to US-Pierre is in
Pope Francis continues in making choices for the people and for inclusivity and compassion:
From La Stampa Italian News-Vatican Insider, World News:
Pope appoints French-born Christophe Pierre, as the New Nuncio to the United States
Archbishop Christophe Pierre
The Vatican made the announcement, April 12, after the Holy See received the formal agreement from the Obama administration. He succeeds Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò who served as nuncio to the United States since 10 October 2011. The Italian archbishop now ends his long years of service to the Holy See, and will retire to his homeland.
At the time of his new assignment, Archbishop Pierre was nuncio to Mexico, a position he has held with considerable distinction for the past nine years, since March 22, 2007. He comes to Washington D.C as an experienced diplomat, with first-hand knowledge of the dramatic plight of migrants from Central America and Mexico to the United States, and will be able to give voice to Pope Francis’ concern for them.
As nuncio, he will be the Holy See’s point man in relations with the US Administration and with the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB). One of his most important roles will be the identification of candidates to be bishops in this country. Pope Francis has already outlined clearly the qualities he wants to see in future bishops, and the new Nuncio will ensure this is reflected in the names he presents to Rome.
Archbishop Pierre, 70, is the first Frenchman to be appointed as Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. A polyglot, he speaks English and Spanish fluently. He is “a pastor”, known for his “humility and simplicity” and is “excellent on all fronts”, a source who knows him well confided. A fellow nuncio described him as “a thoughtful, hardworking man”, and “good listener” with “a great sense of fairness and balanced judgment.”
Pope Francis got to know him well as he prepared for his recent visit to Mexico, and so liked him that he decided to assign him this highly important mission.
Before going to Mexico, Archbishop Pierre had served with distinction as nuncio to Uganda (1999-2007) and Haiti (1995-1999). While in Uganda, John Paul II sent him to Burundi to oversee the Holy’s See’s diplomatic mission there following the assassination of the papal nuncio to that country, the Irish-born archbishop Michael Courtney, on December 29, 2004. He celebrated the funeral mass for the former nuncio at the Regina Mundi Cathedral in Bujumbura on Dec 30, attended by thousands of people. He remained in the country until the pope appointed Archbishop Paul Gallagher (now Secretary for Relations with States) as the new nuncio there.
Gifted with a good sense of humor and a deep voice, the new nuncio can captivate an audience. According to The Vision, Uganda’s leading daily, he is a man who goes among the people, is ready to help anyone regardless of status.
Born in Rennes, France on January 30, 1946, he spent the greater part of his childhood and early education in Africa, mainly in Madagascar, with some years in Malawi, Zimbabwe and one in Morocco. He entered the seminary of Saint-Yves in Rennes at the age of 17, but interrupted his studies to do his two-years of military service (1965-’66).
Ordained priest for the archdiocese of Rennes in April 1970, he served as assistant priest in a parish in the diocese of Nanterre for the next three years. He subsequently gained a Master’s degree in theology from the Institute Catholique de Paris, and a doctorate in Canon Law in Rome.
He entered the Holy See’s diplomatic service in 1977 after studying at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, where its diplomats are trained. He was subsequently assigned to serve in its diplomatic missions in New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Brazil, and as Permanent Observer to the United Nations office in Geneva. He therefore comes to his new post with considerable experience in both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy.
Archbishop Pierre is expected to take up his new position within two months, a Vatican source told America.
Note: This article was first published in America Media and magazine, and is reproduced here with permission
By Julie Zauzmer March 10
The Vatican will appoint Archbishop Christophe Pierre to be the new ambassador to the United States, replacing an ambassador whose tenure has sparked controversy, reports say.
The Jesuit news organization America and longtime Vatican reporter Sandro Magister said Thursday that they expect Pierre will be appointed the Apostolic Nuncio, though the Holy See has not yet announced its choice for the position.
Pierre, 70, who was born in France, speaks fluent English and has served the Catholic Church as a diplomat all over the world, dating to 1977, America reported. His most recent job — following terms as nuncio to Uganda and Haiti — is nuncio to Mexico.
In moving from Mexico to the United States, he might bring to Washington an emphasis on immigration issues, particularly at the U.S.-Mexico border where Pope Francis recently visited to offer a prayer.
[Pope Francis prays for migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border]
America said that the Vatican normally would not declare that someone has been nominated to this diplomatic position until the White House approved the Vatican’s choice of ambassador.
The current Vatican ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, has reached the statutory retirement age, according to America.
Viganò was in the spotlight in September, when he hosted an unexpected meeting at his D.C. residence between Pope Francis and Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, inflaming a nationwide debate over her decision.
In the whirl of questions over why Francis had met Davis on his trip to the United States and who had planned the encounter, the Vatican said that Davis was “invited by the Nuncio” and referred questions about why Davis was on the guest list to Viganò’s office.
[No one wants to talk about how the Pope Francis-Kim Davis meeting was arranged]
Viganò was often more outspoken in his antagonism to same-sex marriage than others in the church. And before his appointment to Washington, he made enemies in the Vatican when he tried to enforce (financial) reforms while he worked for Pope Benedict XVI.