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Pope names new major penitentiary

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope Benedict XVI has named Portuguese Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, the 73-year-old secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, to head the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Church court dealing with indulgences, serious sins and matters of conscience. The Vatican announced the appointment January 5.

Archbishop Monteiro de Castro was born 29 March 1938, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1961 for the Archdiocese of Braga, Portugal. 

He earned a degree in canon law and entered the Vatican diplomatic corps in 1967, working at nunciatures in Panama, Guatemala, Vietnam, Australia, Mexico and Belgium. 

In 1985, Pope John Paul II named him an archbishop and nuncio to eight Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas. 

Five years later, he was named nuncio to El Salvador and Honduras, although he served in the double post only for one year before a new nuncio was named to Honduras. 

Blessed John Paul next sent him to South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho in 1998 as nuncio, a position he held for two years before being named nuncio to Spain and Andorra. 

Archbishop Monteiro de Castro was named to the bishops’ congregation in 2009. 

The apostolic penitentiary also coordinates the work of the confessors in the major basilicas of Rome.

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