On November 16, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York. He succeeds Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who on October 1, 2019 was named by Pope Francis as Apostolic Nuncio to the Kingdom of Spain and to the Principality of Andorra.
Since September 12, 2017, Archbishop Caccia has been serving as Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.
Archbishop Caccia, 61, was born in Milan, Italy, and grew up in Cavaria con Premezzo. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Milan on June 11, 1983 by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini and served for three years in the parish of St. Giovanni Bosco in Milan. Then he was sent to the Vatican’s Diplomatic School, the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, where he obtained a Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) and a Licentiate in Canon Law (JCL) from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Upon graduation in 1991, he joined the diplomatic service of the Holy See.
His first assignment was at the Apostolic Nunciature in Tanzania, where he served for two years until in 1993 he returned to Rome to work in the First Section (for General Affairs) of the Secretariat of State of the Vatican. On December 17, 2002, he was appointed Assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State. On July 16, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI named him Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon and Titular Archbishop of Sepino. He was consecrated bishop on September 12, 2009 by Pope Benedict. On September 12, 2017, Pope Francis appointed him Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.
About his appointment, Archbishop Caccia said, “I have really loved my time in the Philippines and will miss this beautiful country and its faithful people, to whom I express my deepest gratitude. But I hope to be able to fulfill well the new task Pope Francis has entrusted to me, seeking to bring the light of Catholic social teaching to the discussions and debates of the international community. Next year, the United Nations will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding, and I look forward to helping the Holy See assist the United Nations in renewing its commitment to the pillars of its Charter, preventing the scourge of war, defending human dignity and rights, promoting integral development, and fostering respect and implementation of international law and treaties.”
After finishing his duties in Manila, Archbishop Caccia will arrive in New York to assume his new responsibilities on January 16, 2020.
Archbishop Caccia becomes the seventh Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York since the Holy See became a Permanent Observer State on April 6, 1964. He succeeds Msgr. Alberto Giovannetti (1964-1973), Archbishop (later Cardinal) Giovanni Cheli (1973-1986), Archbishop (later Cardinal) Renato Martino (1986-2002), Archbishop Celestino Migliore (2002-2010), Archbishop Francis Chullikatt (2010-2014) and Archbishop Bernardito Auza (2014-2019).
Archbishop Caccia’s episcopal motto is Credidimus Caritati, taken from St. John’s First Letter, “We have believed in the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16).
The Holy See is a Permanent Observer State at the United Nations, alongside 193 Permanent Member States. As a Permanent Observer State, as defined by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 58/314 (2004), the Holy See has the right to participate in the general debate of the General Assembly, the right to make interventions and the right of reply. The only explicit limitations to the role of a Permanent Observer State compared to a Member State concern the right to vote, the right to initiate resolutions and the right to put forward candidates for various UN and UN-related posts.
About his successor, Archbishop Auza said, “Archbishop Caccia and I have known each other for more than thirty years, since our years together at the Vatican’s Diplomatic School. In the two years he has spent in my home country the Philippines, he has endeared himself so deeply to the Filipinos. While the Philippines will surely miss him, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations will greatly benefit from his rich diplomatic experience and impressive priestly and human qualities. The whole team of the Permanent Observer Mission is excited to welcome him warmly to New York.”
The Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations, besides the Permanent Observer and the other Holy See diplomats, has a full time Staff including local priests, women religious, lay attachés, a group of more than 40 adjunct expert advisors, and a vibrant internship program in which 25 young people a year assist with the Mission’s work.