Welcome to Starting Seven, The Pillar’s daily newsletter.
I’m Luke Coppen and I aim to guide you each weekday morning to the most interesting Catholic news and comment.
😇 Today’s feast: Conversion of St. Paul.
📜 Today’s readings: Acts 22:3-16 ▪ Ps 117:1bc, 2 ▪ Mk 16:15-18.
🗞 Starting seven
🇻🇦 Today’s Bollettino
Nomination of Archbishop Julio Murat, apostolic nuncio to Sweden and Iceland, as apostolic nuncio to Denmark.
Fr. Denilson Geraldo, S.A.C., appointed as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Brasília, Brazil.
Papal audience for members of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (address, Vatican News report).
Papal message to participants in the Order of Malta’s Extraordinary Chapter General (Italian text).
🧐 Look closer
Diplomatic opening One of a pope’s many tasks is deciding who should fill vacancies in Church leadership positions around the world. The most obvious vacancies are those of bishops. At any one time, there are scores of sees awaiting appointments.
But there are also many other kinds of vacancies: in the Roman Curia, the College of Cardinals, apostolic nunciatures, and elsewhere.
The Pontifical what? The Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, founded in 1701, trains clergy to serve as papal diplomats at Holy See embassies and the Vatican Secretariat State, the oldest and arguably most powerful dicastery of the Roman Curia.
Archbishop Marino, who was born in Birmingham, Alabama, had served as the academy’s president since October 2019. According to the Italian daily Vatican bulletin (but curiously not the English version), he resigned under the provisions of Article 20 of the Regulations for Pontifical Representatives, which say that papal representatives may ask to retire ahead of turning 70.
The archbishop’s resignation was announced on Jan. 23, his 70th birthday. He had served in the post for just over three years, a shorter tenure than those of his immediate predecessors.
In 2017, the pope created a third section of the Secretariat of State focused exclusively on people preparing for or working in the Holy See’s diplomatic service. In 2019, he requested that trainee diplomats dedicate a year of their formation to missionary service.
In June last year, he visited the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, meeting 36 priests from 22 countries studying at the institution and highlighting the importance of the missionary year.
In an interview in April 2022, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin noted that “every year it is challenging to find new candidates” for the academy because of the general crisis in vocations. At the time, there were 14 vacant nunciatures worldwide.
The pope did not name Archbishop Marino’s successor on the day his resignation was accepted. But on Wednesday, the Vatican announced that Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, the apostolic nuncio to Poland, would take up the role.
Archbishop Pennacchio himself recently celebrated his 70th birthday. Age aside, he now has the daunting task of recruiting sufficient Vatican diplomats and preparing them for the increasingly volatile world of international affairs.
🔍 Stories to watch
📅 Coming soon
Feb. 3 Cardinal Domenico Calcagno turns 80.
Have a happy feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.
Do you know someone who would appreciate reading this newsletter? Invite your friends to sign up here.