Senior Vatican position for Liverpool alumnus

Pope Francis has appointed Jesuit-educated Archbishop Paul Gallagher as the Holy See’s  Secretary for Relations with States. The Papal Nuncio to Australia since 2012, Archbishop Gallagher is the first Briton to hold this senior position within the Vatican.

Paul Gallagher was born in Liverpool on 23 January 1954. He was educated by the Jesuits at St Francis Xavier’s College in Woolton and was ordained as a priest of the Archdiocese of Liverpool by Archbishop Derek Worlock on 31 July 1977. He served in Fazakerley before taking courses at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. After earning a doctorate in canon law, he became a member of the Holy See's diplomatic service and went on to hold posts in Tanzania, Uruguay, the Philippines, the Vatican Secretariat of State and at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. In his new position he will head the Vatican section charged with overseeing its worldwide diplomacy.

In 2009, Archbishop Gallagher was appointed nuncio (papal envoy) to Guatemala and Burundi, where his predecessor (Archbishop Michael Courtney) had been assassinated.  He himself survived shelling by rebel forces in Burundi when a bomb intended for the presidential palace hit his residence.

Archbishop Gallagher speaks native English, Italian, French and Spanish.