On Friday, January 27, 2012, it was announced from Rome that three alumni of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the academia, had been promoted to the ranks of the Apostolic Nuncios and were to receive episcopal ordination as archbishops.
The new appointees are Monsignori: Santo Rocco Gangemi (Class of ’90) assigned to the Solomon Islands (it is presumed that he will later also be given responsibility for Papua New Guinea); Julio Murat (Turkish, Class of ’92) assigned to Zambia (it is presumed that he will later also be given responsibility for Malawi), and; Luciano Russo (Class of ’91) whose assignment has not as yet been revealed. No date has as yet been announced for their episcopal ordinations but usually a period of about six weeks is allowed for all the necessary arrangements, not least to enable friends and family to be present in Rome for this great event in these priests’ lives. It is expected that the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, will be the Principal Consecrator.
In relation to Msgr Russo, in a situation like this, where the promotion has been announced but the assignment has not, it is usually the case that the Vatican has put the name forward to the host government concerned but has at the time of the announcement not as yet received their agreement but no problem is envisaged.
Currently there are another nine nunciatures awaiting an appointment (if the latest arrangements are continued), three of which involve multiple responsibilities: Denmark/Finland/Iceland/Norway/Sweden; South/Africa/Nambia/Lesotho/Swaziland/Botswana, and; the European Community/Monaco. Of the single-country nunciatures awaiting an appointment, China, Vietnam and Brazil would each probably be considered too great a responsibility for a newly promoted Nuncio. The other vacancies are in Azerbaijan, Rwanda, and Timor-Leste.
With these appointments the day has drawn much closer when our very own Mgr Leo Cushley, Head of the English Language Section of the Secretariat of State, will be called upon to serve the Holy See as a Nuncio. In general, appointments follow the chronology of the academia. These latest appointments have now reached the Class of ’92; Mgr Cushley belongs to the Class of ’94.
At the consistory on February 18, Archbishop Santos Abril y Castelló will become a cardinal. Cardinal-elect Abril is a distinguished former Nuncio. In 1985 when he was first appointed as a Nuncio (to Bolivia) and accorded the archiepiscopal dignity, he was in an equivalent position to Mgr Cushley as Head of the Spanish Language Section of the Secretariat of State.
PS: On Thursday, February 16, 2012, it was announced that Mgr Russo had been appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda.
PS2:Msgr Julio Murat was born on August 18, 1961 at Karsiyaka, Turkey. He was ordained Priest by Pope Bl. Karol Józef Wojtyła on May 25, 1986. At the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy he was in the Class of ’92. Msgr Murat holds a doctorate in Canon Law and speaks several languages apart from his native Turkish: Italian, obviously, English, French, German and Greek. After gaining his Diploma in Diplomacy from the academia, he served in the nunciatures in Indonesia, Pakistan, Byelorussia and Austria. On November 21, 2002, he was recalled to Rome and appointed to the Second Section of the Secretariat of State, the Section for Relations with States.
Msgr Murat was ordained bishop on March 3, 2012, and was provided to the titular archiepiscopal see of Orange, a suppressed diocese in the environs of Marseille, France. His Principal Consecrator was His Eminence Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, S.D.B., Cardinal Secretary of State. Assisting the Cardinal Secretary of State as Principal Co-Consecrators were Archbishop Dominique François Joseph Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States (who has been Msgr Murat’s boss for the last five and a half years), and Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, S.D.B., Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (this was the first episcopal ordination at which His Excellency has assisted since attaining episcopal rank).