Raffaella Petrini is an expert in Catholic social doctrine.
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Pope Francis appointed Sister Raffaella Petrini as secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State on November 4. He tapped a layman for the post of deputy secretary General.
Born in Rome in 1969, the Franciscan nun Raffaella Petrini is a specialist in the Social Doctrine of the Church. Her doctorate in social sciences is from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas and she has a master’s in organization behavior from the Barney School of Business at the University of Hartford, Connecticut.
She thus becomes the “number 2” of the Governorate of Vatican City, an organ in charge of exercising executive power within the smallest state in the world. Since 2005, she has worked at the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
The post of Secretary General has been vacant since the appointment of Bishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga as president of the Governorate last October.
As indicated by the statutes of the Governorate (amended in 2018), the secretary general is appointed for five years and replaces the president in the event of his absence or incapacity.
Women in the Vatican
Recently, Pope Francis has appointed several women to positions in the Curia. On August 26, for example, he appointed Sister Alessandra Smerilli as interim secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
Last February, Sister Nathalie Becquart was named undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops.
Layman as deputy secretary general
To support Sister Petrini, Pope Francis has chosen as deputy secretary general the lawyer Giuseppe Puglisi-Alibrandi. This layman, born in Rome in 1966, graduated in law from the University of La Sapienza. Since 2014, he has worked with the Governorate where he was appointed Head of the Legal Office, Civil Status, Register and Notary in 2017.