The office was held previously by Bishop Elio Sgreccia, who was appointed president of the academy last January by Pope John Paul II.
Jean Laffitte was born in Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France, in 1952. A priest of the Diocese of Autun and a member of the Emmanuel Community, he has studied political science and holds a doctorate in theology.
He was the superior of the chaplains of the Paray-le-Monial Shrine in France before becoming a professor at the John Paul II Institute, part of the Lateran University.
Monsignor Laffitte has taught courses in branches of this institute in Brazil, Spain, Benin, Mexico and Australia.
He has also taught in seminars and sessions of formation of the clergy in Italy, France, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Chile and Peru.
In 2003 he was named consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.