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Vatican bids farewell to Archbishop Celli

Rome, July, 26th 2016 (Radio Vatican). Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, the former President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, is leaving the Vatican after a long career as a Vatican diplomat and administrator.

Many journalists were present at his leaving ceremony, held on July 21st at the Secretariat for Communications. Cardinal Parolin, the Secretary of State, highlighted Celli’s outstanding humane and spiritual qualities.

Born on July 20, 1941 in Rimini, he graduated from the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in 1966. When he was working as a Vatican diplomat, he became the Nuncio to South Africa. In 1990, he came back to the Vatican and became Undersecretary of the Relations with States (deputy foreign minister) in the Secretariat of State.

He stayed in this post for five years, where he was able to create diplomatic relations with Israel, in 1993. In 1995, he was appointed Secretary of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and received his Episcopal ordination from Pope John Paul II. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI asked him to supervise the Vatican’s communications and named him President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

In this role, he brought an open and engaging style and a willingness to innovate. Under his Presidency the Vatican embraced social media. The News.va website was created and in December 2012 the Papal Twitter account @Pontifex was launched. He also organized an international meeting of Catholic bloggers.

Archbishop Celli leaves following the reform of Vatican communications in which the functions of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications were subsumed by the new Secretariat for Communications. He will now fully dedicate himself to the Villa Nazareth in Rome, a College which hosts free of charge gifted students whose families are unable to fund their studies.

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