Pope Appoints New Patriarch of Venice

Calls on 58-Year-Old Genoa Native

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VENICE, Italy, JAN. 31, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI has named Francesco Moraglia, bishop of La Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato, as patriarch of Venice.

The newly appointed patriarch is a native of Genoa, where he was born in 1953, and ordained in 1977. After receiving his doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University Urbaniana, he taught at the archdiocesan major seminary in Genoa while also serving as an associate pastor in a parish in the city.

He later held positions as professor of dogmatic theology at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy, and as professor, and later dean, at the Ligurian Institute of Religious Studies. He also directed the Diocesan Office for Culture and the Didascaleion Center for Studies.

He was appointed bishop of La Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato in 2007, and received episcopal ordination in 2008 from the archbishop of Genoa, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.

Bishop Moraglia fills the vacancy created when in June last year the then patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola, was named to the position of archbishop of Milan.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, the new patriarch said that on receiving the news of his appointment, his mood was one of «trepidation» as he felt himself thrust forward into a situation that he had never imagined possible.

Referring to the current economic crisis facing Italy and the whole of Europe, Bishop Moraglia said that more than a problem of finances or economics, it is a cultural and anthropological crisis.

One of the most important episcopal sees in Italy, Venice in the 20th century saw three patriarchs go on to be elected pope: Pope Pius X, John XXIII, and John Paul I.

The diocese has a population of 375,790, and almost all are Catholics; 372,032. They are served by 394 priests, 29 permanent deacons, and 755 religious.

The Vatican also announced today that the Pope appointed Bishop Filippo Iannone of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo, Italy, as vice gerent of the Diocese of Rome, conferring upon him the dignity of archbishop.

As well, he appointed auxiliary bishops of Rome Monsignor Matteo Maria Zuppi, pastor of the parish of Santi Simone e Giuda in Torre Angela, and Monsignor Lorenzo Leuzzi, director of the vicariate of Rome’s office for pastoral care in universities, rector of the church of «San Gregorio Nazianzeno in Montecitorio» and chaplain of the Italian parliament. 

The Diocese of Rome now has seven auxiliary bishops to assist the Pope’s vicar general.

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