Pietro Parolin has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new prime minister of Vatican.
Veteran diplomat Pietro Parolin is replacing Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone as part of Pope Francis’ initiative to reform the Vatican.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, had been widely criticized over last year’s so-called “Vatileaks” scandals.
Leaked documents revealed corruption and infighting at the Vatican.
In September Tarcisio Bertone said he had been the victim of “moles and vipers”.
“Of course there were a lot of problems, particularly in the last two years, and some accusations were levied against me,” he said.
“But this should not darken what I see as a positive overall result. We missed some things, also because problems were kept locked away by some people who did not contact the Secretariat of State,” Tarcisio Bertone added.
Cardinals welcomed the choice of Pietro Parolin who is seen as a reformer and known for his efforts to improve relations with China and Israel.
The French cardinal, Jean-Louis Tauran, told Vatican radio that Pietro Parolin was “an excellent choice, an efficient man, a good negotiator, very balanced.”
Pope Francis has already set in motion the reform of the Vatican Bank which has allegedly been turning a blind eye to money-laundering by some of its clients. He has also appointed a committee of Catholic economists to advise him on improving accounting methods and financial transparency.
The appointment of Pope Francis’ new secretary of state is seen by Vatican watchers as the most important single administrative act carried out by the new Pope since his election last March.