In a shuffling of top-level curial posts, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Dominique Mamberti to replace Cardinal Raymond Burke as “chief justice” of the Vatican’s high court and filled Mamberti’s post as “foreign minister” with Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the first Englishman to ever occupy this position.
Saturday’s appointments are the most important of Francis’ career since naming Cardinal Pietro Parolin as Vatican secretary of state on February 22 of last year.
The new secretary of foreign affairs—the third-highest position in the Vatican—is Liverpool-born Paul Richard Gallagher, a career diplomat and the current apostolic nuncio to Australia. Gallagher was born in Liverpool on January 23, 1954, and was made a bishop in 2004. Prior to his nomination, Gallagher served as papal nuncio to Burundi, then in Guatemala.
Dominique Mamberti, a civil and canon lawyer and current secretary for Relations with States (foreign minister), has been promoted to head of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, replacing Cardinal Raymond Burke, who, as expected, is being transferred to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Burke served as Vatican chief justice from June 27, 2008, to the present.
Cardinal Burke will be the new head of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a chivalric organization for distinguished Catholics from around the world, whose mission is to provide social and health assistance and to assist the sick, the needy, and refugees, without distinction of religion.
In a recent interview, Burke stated, “Certain media simply want to keep portraying me as living my life as an opponent to Pope Francis.” He added, “I am not at all. I’ve been serving him in the Apostolic Signatura and in other ways I continue to serve him.”
The appointment to the mainly ceremonial role is uncommon for a cardinal so far removed from the retirement age of 75. Burke is 66.
The Order of Malta possesses national sovereignty, which technically makes it the world’s smallest state.