Pope Francis has appointed a Liverpool priest, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, to be Secretary for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See. The position, effectively Foreign Secretary for the Holy See, involves the specific duty of attending to matters which involve civil governments.
Archbishop Gallagher, who is currently Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, says of his appointment, ‘My appointment as Secretary for Relations with States comes at a time when the world is facing many serious challenges. I am convinced that diplomacy remains an indispensable tool in the pursuit of peace and harmony between nations. In making this nomination Pope Francis has done me a great honour, for which I humbly thank him. It will be a privilege to work with the Holy Father, who has established himself as an important voice at a critical moment. I am only too aware of the responsibility that comes with this office. I will need prayerful support, which I recognise has never been lacking throughout my priestly ministry and diplomatic service of the Holy See.’
The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool, says, 'I welcome the news of the appointment of Archbishop Paul Gallagher as Secretary for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State of the Holy See. It is a great honour for our archdiocese that a Liverpool priest has been chosen for this important international role and my thoughts and prayers, together with those of people throughout the archdiocese, will be with Archbishop Paul as he prepares to take up his new responsibilities.'
Archbishop Gallagher will have responsibility for the Holy See’s diplomatic relations with States, including the establishment of Concordats or similar agreements; for the Holy See’s presence in international organisations and conferences; in special circumstances, by order of the Pope himself and in consultation with the Roman Curia, he will provide for appointments to particular Churches, and for their establishment or modification; in close collaboration with the Congregation for Bishops, he will also attend to the appointment of Bishops in countries which have entered into treaties or agreements with the Holy See in accordance with international law.
60 year old Archbishop Gallagher, a priest of the Liverpool Archdiocese, has spent the past thirty-one years in the Papal Diplomatic Service. He was ordained Archbishop by Cardinal Angelo Sodano on 13 March 2004 and was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Burundi. In 2009 he was appointed to Guatemala and on 11 December 2012 he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to be Apostolic Nuncio to Australia.
Archbishop Gallagher was educated at St Francis Xavier School, Liverpool, and was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Derek Worlock in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King on 31 July 1977. His first appointment was as assistant priest in Holy Name parish, Fazakerley where his duties included being a chaplain to the then Fazakerley Hospital, now University Hospital Aintree. He studied at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, the training ground for Vatican diplomats, graduating in 1984 with a Doctorate in Canon Law. His first three postings in the diplomatic service took him to three continents: to Africa and Tanzania; Uruguay in South America and to Asia and the Philippines. He then returned to Rome before becoming the Representative of the Holy See at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.