Cardinal Sodano Appointed Secretary of State

New Pope Keeps Other Heads of Dicasteries

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 21, 2005 ( On the second full day of his pontificate, Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Angelo Sodano as Vatican secretary of state, confirming him in the office he held under John Paul II.

In a statement published today by Joaquín Navarro Valls, director of the Vatican press office, the new Pope confirmed until further notice the cardinals and archbishops heading the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, Cardinal Edmund Szoka.

In the case of Cardinal Sodano, 78, it is an appointment in the proper sense of the term. John Paul II appointed him as his right hand in the guidance of the Holy See in June 1991.

John Paul II confirmed Cardinal Sodano in the post in 2002, after his 75th birthday, when he presented his resignation for reasons of age, as established in the apostolic constitution «Pastor Bonus.»

Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, also confirmed Archbishop Leonardo Sandri in his post as substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, added Navarro Valls.

The substitute of the Secretariat of State reviews the daily work of the life of the Church with the Holy Father. Archbishop Sandri was John Paul II’s «voice» during the last months of his life, when he was unable to read his addresses due to poor health.

Also confirmed in his post is Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, until now Vatican secretary for relations with states.

Benedict XVI confirmed as well the secretaries of the Roman Curia’s dicasteries for the five-year period under way.

As established in Article 6 of «Pastor Bonus,» on «the death of the Supreme Pontiff, all moderators and members of the dicasteries cease from their office. The Camerlengo of the Roman Church and the Major Penitentiary are excepted, who expedite ordinary business and refer to the College of Cardinals those things which would have been referred to the Supreme Pontiff.»

«The secretaries see to the ordinary operations of the dicasteries, taking care of the ordinary business only; they need to be confirmed in office by the Supreme Pontiff within three months of his election,» it adds.

For now, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose prefect was Cardinal Ratzinger, is without a head.

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