Vatican offices for clergy, charity get new leaders

Pope appoints new heads to Vatican offices for clergy, charity

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI appointed new heads for two Vatican offices, naming Italian canon lawyer, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, as prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, and Guinean Archbishop Robert Sarah as president of the Vatican's charity-promotion agency, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

Archbishop Piacenza, 66, who served as secretary of the clergy congregation since 2007, replaces Cardinal Claudio Hummes. The pope accepted the resignation of the 76-year-old Brazilian cardinal, who led the congregation since 2006.

Archbishop Sarah, 65, replaces German Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, 76, who served as head of Cor Unum since 1995.

The Vatican announced the appointments Oct. 7.

Archbishop Piacenza spent years in a variety of teaching posts, from teaching religion in Italian public high schools to teaching theology, canon law, contemporary culture and the history of atheism at both public and church-run institutes. He also served as a judge for church courts on the diocesan and regional levels, and worked in communications for the Archdiocese of Genoa -- the northern port city where he was born.

He began working at the Congregation for Clergy in 1990 and was promoted to the position of undersecretary in 2000.

While maintaining his role as undersecretary, Archbishop Piacenza also was named president of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church in 2003 and president of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology in 2004; positions he held until 2007, the same year he was appointed secretary of the clergy congregation.

He was ordained a bishop in 2003 and archbishop in 2007. As head of a Vatican congregation, Archbishop Piacenza is expected to be made a cardinal.

Archbishop Sarah, who was born in Guinea, pursued his seminary studies in his home country, as well as in France and Senegal. He received a degree in theology at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University and a degree in sacred Scripture at the Franciscan Biblical Institute in Jerusalem.

He served as rector of the minor seminary in Kindia, Guinea, and pastor of a number of local parishes.

He was named archbishop of Conakry when he was 34, which made him the youngest bishop in the world at the time.

In 2001, he was named secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Vatican department responsible for missionary work.

With his experience at the evangelization office, Archbishop Sarah will be bringing an important element to Cor Unum, which coordinates Catholic charitable giving, distributes funds in the name of the pope, and identifies Catholic projects that need special help.

Pope Benedict has emphasized, especially in his encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" ("God Is Love"), that those working for Catholic charitable organizations need to be witnesses of the faith as well as professionally competent in humanitarian affairs.

The church's charitable activities, the papal encyclical said, should not be seen as opportunities for proselytism, in the sense of imposing the church's faith on others.

"But this does not mean that charitable activity must somehow leave God and Christ aside," it said, adding "a Christian knows when it is time to speak of God and when it is better to say nothing and to let love speak alone."

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