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Winds of change: Italians losing centuries-old grip on Vatican

by Jean-Louis de la Vaissiere, AFP, YahooNews  |  published on March 25, 2014


Vatican City (AFP) – A quiet revolution is afoot in the Vatican.

With many of Pope Francis’s new appointments, control over the powerful city state is slipping, slowly but surely, from the centuries-old grip of the Italian hierarchy.

Popes may come and go — and three in a row now have been non-Italian — but the inner workings of the opaque Vatican bureaucracy, the Curia, have traditionally been the province of Italian apparatchiks.

Like Francis, his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI found themselves in the midst of back-stabbing and turf wars in the Catholic Church’s corridors of power, but they had little appetite for disturbing the hornet’s nest.

The world’s first Latin American pontiff however has had no such qualms, readily appointing fresh faces from diverse countries — including lay people and women — much to the chagrin of the old guard.

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