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New Vatican observer at UN

 |  NCR Today

The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, apostolic nuncio to Iraq and Jordan, as Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York.

He became the first non-Italian to hold the post and succeeds Archbishop Celestino Migliore, who is now apostolic nuncio to Poland.

Here's a news report from UCA News:

Top UN posting ‘proves’ Church’s universality

Church officials in Kerala have hailed the appointment of an Indian as the Vatican’s top envoy to the United Nations, saying it demonstrates the Church’s multi-national character.

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The appointment of Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt as the Vatican’s Permanent Observer to the UN is a “great recognition” of the Indian Church, said Syro-Malabar Church spokesperson Father Paul Thelakat.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed the 57-year-old former apostolic nuncio to Iraq and Jordan on July 17.

He became the first non-Italian to hold the post and succeeds Archbishop Celestino Migliore, who is now apostolic nuncio to Poland.

Archbishop Chullikatt’s appointment reflects the Church’s intention to include all races, nationalities and cultures rather than being a European reality, said Father Thelakat.

“The assembly of nations is hearing the voice of the Catholic Church, which includes all nationalities. We Indians can be proud that the Church’s voice will get an Indian hue and flavor in the UN,” he said.

“It is a very important and prestigious post as far as the Church is concerned. I pray God helps him carry out his duties to his full capacity,” said Father Stephen Alathara from the southern Indian Kerala state’s Latin-rite Church.

Archbishop Chullikatt, from the Latin-rite Verapoly archdiocese in Kerala, was ordained a priest in 1978 and holds a doctorate in canon law.

He joined the Vatican’s diplomatic service in 1988 and speaks French and Spanish as well as English and Italian.

He has served in the Honduras, in various countries in southern Africa, in the Philippines and at the United Nations in New York. He also served in the Secretariat of State at the Vatican.

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