Secretary of Migrants Council Resigns

Archbishop Marchetto Retires to Study Vatican II

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 3, 2010 ( Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.

Thursday on Vatican Radio, the prelate said: «Mine is a state of spirit of one who retires after many years. There is some sadness, but also the serenity of having done what I considered my duty.»

The archbishop has served as secretary of the Vatican dicastery since 2001.

He said he is very happy to be able to dedicate time now to study history, a great passion of his. «Fundamentally I am an historian,» the prelate said. «I am interested in theology; I have been very interested in pastoral care, and also in canon law, but my great passion is history.»

Archbishop Marchetto spoke about his work in the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, noting that it is a «very consolidated» pastoral sector.

In this area, he continued, «the Church has had a prophetic role for more than 100 years,» with an «extraordinary teaching.»

On immigration, the prelate affirmed, «we, the men of the Church, have always said that there is a hospitality/security relationship, but in many places efforts and money go more in the line of security than of hospitality.»

The archbishop, who made news Aug. 20 with his statements against the French government’s decision to deport a group of gypsies, saw himself enveloped in a controversy due to an erroneous translation of his words.

Still in Rome

Archbishop Marchetto explained that Benedict XVI accepted his resignation on Aug. 25, but that it was a request that he had made to the Pope some time ago.

The prelate, who turned 70 on Aug. 28, had been requesting permission to leave his work in the dicastery before the usual age of retirement (75 years), to be able to dedicate himself to the study of the history of the Second Vatican Council. He already published a book on this topic last March.

To retire at age 70 is a privilege that is granted to apostolic nuncios. A diplomat for 20 years in Africa and afflicted by a serious illness in 1996, Archbishop Marchetto was given the permission to invoke this privilege.

He told Vatican Radio that he wishes to stay in Rome, but does not want to stop working. He stated, «I want to continue my research on the Second Vatican Council, a work that fascinates me as much as the issues of human mobility.»

Archbishop Antonio Vegliò is the president of the migrants council.

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