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POPE APPOINTS US ARCBISHOP AS DIPLOMATIC REP TO MALAYSIA

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia -  Pope Benedict XVI has appointed American Archbishop Joseph Marino as the first Apostolic Nuncio (diplomatic representative) to Malaysia, and the Government has welcomed it.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the appointment was testament to a commitment he and Pope Benedict pledged during a meeting two years ago.
“Having established diplomatic ties in 2011, Pope Benedict and I vowed to work together to increase understanding between Christians and Muslims,” he said.
  • “The appointment is a testament to this commitment. It is my hope that we can continue to build greater unity between world religions,” he said here yesterday.
  • Najib visited Rome in July 2011 to meet Pope Benedict at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.
  • Marino is expected to arrive in Malaysia in the next few weeks.
  • He will be the Pope's representative to the Catholic Church in the country and would also have the rank of an ambassador, whose role is to enhance ties between both sides.
  • A Vatican embassy has been set up in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Known as the Apostolic Nunciature Malaysia, the embassy was officially recognised in May last year following Najib's visit,
  • The 59-year-old Marino was also appointed as Apostolic Nuncio to Timor Leste and as an Apostolic Delegate to Brunei effective Wednesday, the Vatican announced.
  • Catholic priest and editor of Catholic newsletter The Herald, Father Lawrence Andrew, said the Vatican ambassador would help foster inter-faith dialogues and enhance relationships between Malaysia and the Vatican.
  • “He can help to build bridges,” he said.
  • Malaysia, he said, had appointed an ambassador to the Vatican last year, Datuk Ho May Young, who was also ambassador to Switzerland.
  • He added that in the 1960s, Malaysia had a special envoy to the Vatican, the late Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee.
  • Marino, who hails from Alabama, has been the Apostolic Nuncio to Bangladesh since January 2008.
  • He has previously served in several Apostolic Nunciatures in the Philippines, Uruguay, Nigeria and Britain. He speaks English, Italian, French and Spanish.
  • A report in Vatican Insider on Wednesday described the announcement as a “highly significant development in relations between the Holy See and Malaysia”.
  • Malaysia became the 179th state to establish diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
  Source: The Star
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