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    » 06/09/2007, 00.00


    Msgr. Fernando Filoni is the new substitute for the Secretary of State

    He is a great expert on China and the Middle East. Msgr. Leonardo Sandri is appointed Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches.

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) – An expert in Chinese affairs and on the Middle East, from today is the new Vatican substitute for the Secretary of State. Benedict XVI in fact, has appointed Msgr. Fernando Filoni, calling him from the Nunciature to the Philippines.  

    Msgr. Filoni, 61, was born in Manduria (Taranto Southern Italy) and is a graduate in Philosophy and Canon Law.  He entered the Holy See’s diplomatic service and has worked in Nunciatures to Sri Lanka, Iran, and Brazil and in the Roman Curia.

    His most intense and important period of work however, was a period he spend in Hong Kong in the ‘90’s, on the Holy See’s so-called “Study Mission”, linked to the Manila Nunciature.  During this time Msgr. Filoni was John Paul II’s bridge, reaching out to China’s bishops, official and non-official, reconciling the vast majority to the Holy See.  He was also the main sponsor of Msgr. Joseph Zen bishop of Hong Kong.  A close friend of the former, he witnessed the passing of the former British colony under Chinese rule.

    On January 17 2001, he became titular Archbishop of Volturno and was nominated Apostolic nunicio to Jordan and Iraq, receiving his bishops ordination from John Paul II.

    Msgr. Filoni defended the freedom of the Church in Iraq under the regime of Saddam Hussein and – in line with the Pope’s position – opposed the US invasion of the country.  After the fall of Saddam he did not fail to notice some new aspects of peoples new found freedom – schools, mass media etc… - but he also warned against the lack of security and the slow reprisal of the economy, eulogising the new constitution and supporting solidarity and peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims.

    On February 25 2006 he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.

    In a declaration published by the Vatican Press Office, he commented on his appointment:

     “It is an act of paternal benevolence on the part of the Pontiff, to which I respond without the slightest trepidation, but with the same willingness and profound gratitude I have had in the past.  The wonderful words of Our Lord aid me at this time, those found in Luke (17, 10), on the attitude of those called into the Christ’s service: ‘When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do'.”.

    Msgr. Leonardo Sandri, upon till now substitute for the secretary of state, was today nominated Prefect of the congregation for Oriental Churches , after the Pope accepted the resignation of Card. Ignace Moussa Daud I on having reached retirement age.



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    See also

    10/10/2006 VATICAN
    Holy See never in favour of weapons, says Cardinal Bertone
    The Vatican secretary of state comments North Korea's nuclear test. Vatican releases statement backing treaty limiting conventional arms trade, including light weapons.

    22/06/2006 vatican
    Pope: Cardinal Bertone to become new Secretary of State

    The current Archbishop of Genoa's naming was announced today and will take effect on September 15.  On the same day, Archbishop Lajolo will become the President of the Pontifical Commission of the Vatican City State and President of the Governatorato.

    12/07/2006 VATICAN – INDIA
    Pope's condolences to the victims of the Mumbai attacks, senseless acts against humanity
    In a telegram to India's civil and church authorities, Benedict XVI invokes the divine gifts of consolation and comfort.

    16/11/2009 VATICAN - CHINA
    Letter of Card. Bertone to priests of China
    The document, published today, follows the Pope's letter to Chinese Catholics and the inaugural Letter for the Year for Priests. It reaffirms the values of reconciliation and education.

    10/01/2008 VATICAN – IRAQ
    Pope expresses his solidarity to Iraqi Christians touched by recent attacks
    In a telegram Benedict XVI calls on the perpetrators of the attacks to forsake violence and on the authorities to do what is necessary to find a just and peaceful solution to the country’s problems.

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