Pope Francis names new ambassador to Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Pope Francis on Tuesday, September 12, named Italian Archbishop Gabrielle Giordano Caccia as his new ambassador to the Philippines.

The 59-year-old Caccia will replace Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, 65, whom Francis moved to Croatia after 6 years of serving in the Philippines. Pinto left the Philippines in August.

The pontiff made the announcement at 6 pm on Tuesday, Manila time, a day after he returned to Rome from a trip to Colombia. 

Caccia was the Vatican's ambassador or apostolic nuncio to Lebanon when the Pope assigned him to the Philippines.

He had been the apostolic nuncio to Lebanon since 2009. 

Hailing from Milan, Italy, Caccia was born on February 24, 1958, according to the official news service of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

He was ordained to the priesthood in June 1983, and was made an archbishop in September 2009.

Before he was assigned to Lebanon, Caccia was assessor for general affairs of the Vatican secretariat of state, CBCP News reported. 

Caccia's posting to the Philippines comes as President Rodrigo Duterte slams the Catholic Church for supposedly meddling in his war on drugs.

On the same day Caccia was named to his new position, the CBCP issued its strongest statement on the drug war, saying: "In the name of God, stop the killings!" – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.