Pope Francis has appointed an Italian prelate Matteo Maria Zuppi known as the “Bergoglio of Italy” to succeed Cardinal Carlo Caffarra as the new Archbishop of Bologna.
Archbishop-elect Matteo Maria Zuppi, known politically for his peace activism, brokering peace during the Mozambique civil war ,helping to end the conflict in 1992 and, amongst Traditional circles, for his friendly outreach to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) in 2014.
Over the last decade, Bishop Matteo Zuppi’s name has been linked to several initiatives for peace in Rwanda, especially with the Rwandan rebels based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Pope Francis has also appointed 53-year-old Father Corrado Lorefice, who is also renowned for his commitment to social activism along with opposing the Mafia, Archbishop of Palermo.
Father Lorefice will likely face greater challenge in Palermo the capital of one of Italy’s poorest regions which has for decades suffered at the hands of Mafias. He is no stranger to such difficulties, having written about Giuseppe “Pino” Puglisi, a Palermo priest who was murdered after standing up to the Mafia. But as Alberto Camplani, a professor of Christian history at Rome’s La Sapienza University, noted, Lorefice “is a man of the poor, not only against the Mafia.”
Pope Francis “wants to position unexpected people” in the two Italian dioceses, signaling a sea change in the higher realms of power within the Catholic Church, Camplani said.
Both are relatively young to receive such high office; Zuppi turned 60 this month, while Lorefice has just celebrated his 53rd birthday. But more importantly, the new archbishops have adhered to the pontiff’s wish to prioritize caring for the poor.