Pope Francis Appoints His Representative in Zimbabwe

The newly-appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Zimbabwe

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Paolo Rudelli who has been serving as the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the European Council in Strasbourg, France, to be his representative in the Southern Africa nation of Zimbabwe.

The appointment was made public Saturday, January 25, published by the Holy See Press Office.

A clergy of Italy’s Bergamo Diocese, the 49-year-old Prelate was ordained a priest in June 1995.

He entered the Holy See diplomatic service in July 2001. Since then he has served in the Pontifical Representations in Ecuador and Poland as well as the Vatican’s Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

He was appointed to the European Council as the Holy See’s Permanent Observer in September 2014.


Last September, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Other and ordained a Bishop on October 4 with the title of Titular Archbishop of Mesembria

Archbishop Rudelli holds a doctorate in Moral Theology and a Licentiate in Canon Law.

The Prelate speaks his native language Italian, English, French, Spanish and Polish.

He will be representing the Holy Father in Zimbabwe, a country with an estimated Catholic population of one million people spread across eight ecclesiastical sees with 12 Prelates, inclusive of retired ones.

The country’s Bishops under their umbrella body Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) have been on the frontline calling for better governance in the Southern Africa nation, which is weighed down by protracted political and economic challenges.

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The country’s farmers are dealing with a severe drought and hunger crisis. In this regard, the humanitarian arm of the U.S. Bishops, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has estimated that close to 7 million people are affected.

Last October, the Catholic Bishops, together with other Christian leaders, called for a seven-year political fast from politics, in a bid, they explained, to rebuild trust and confidence among Zimbabweans.

In December 2019, the Bishops issued a pastoral letter decrying a leadership crisis in their landlocked country. They also called for a comprehensive national dialogue to sort out the leadership crisis and nurture inclinations toward the “common good.”