POPE Benedict XVI appointed Italian Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto as the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines last May 10, making him the 16th papal envoy to be assigned to Asia’s bastion of Catholicism.

The 59-year-old prelate was the Apostolic Nuncio to Chile from 2007 to 2011.

He replaced Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, who has been reassigned to Greece after a four-year tenure in the Philippines.

Pinto, who holds a doctorate in Canon Law, was born in Bari, Italy on May 26, 1952, and was ordained priest on April 1, 1978.

According to CBCP News, the official news service of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Pinto started working in the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See on May 1, 1984, and served in Papua New Guinea, Argentina, and the Secretariat of State in Vatican City.

He had been papal envoy in the African countries of Senegal, Cape Verde, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, and Mauritania.

An Apostolic Nuncio or Papal Legate is the Pope’s representative to the bishops of the episcopal conferences and to particular churches.

According to Church law, his primary task is to strengthen the bonds of unity between the Pope and heads of states and the bishops.

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