ARCHBISHOP Agostino Casaroli, the architect of the Vatican's "ostpolitik", has been appointed acting Secretary of State by Pope John Paul II. He succeeds Cardinal Jean Villot who died in March.
It is expected that the Archbishop will be made permanent Secretary of State as soon as he receives the red hat. There is ample precedent for such an appointment. Pope Paul VI served in such a capacity under Pope Pius XII although the appointment was never made permanent as it is believed this one will be.
The news of the appointment has ended Vatican speculation
about who the new Pope will choose to advise him on matters of curial and Vatican protocol. It had been assumed that the Pope would appoint an Italian well. versed in curial matters who would be able to supply the background information unfamilair to a "foreigner" in the Vatican.
Archbishop Giuseppe Capri() has also been chosen to take over some of the late Cardinal Villot's duties. He has been made propresident of the Administration of Vatican Properties. Vatican observers say that he too will be elevated to the cardinalate and will then be made full president of the commission.