Korean Bishop Lazarus You Heung-sik is the new Prefect of the Clergy

Pope Francis accepts the resignation of Cardinal Beniamino Stella due to age limit. As has already happened with the Congregation for Worship, the change of leadership for the Dicastery that deals with priests will be preceded by an apostolic visit.


Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Beniamino Stella and appointed 69-year-old Lazarus You Heung-sik, bishop of Daejeon, Korea, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. The new Prefect knows the Pope and welcomed him to his diocese during the Pope’s trip to Korea in August 2014.

Born in 1951 and ordained a priest for the Diocese of Daejeon, Lazarus You Heung-sik became a coadjutor in the same diocese in 2003 and two years later assumed full responsibility. The new Prefect was the head of the Korean Bishops’ Conference’s Peace Committee and traveled to North Korea four times.

The appointment of a Korean bishop to the Congregation for the Clergy follows that of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at the head of Propaganda Fide and testifies to Pope Francis’ attention to the Asian continent.

In recent days, the bishop of Mondovi, Egidio Miragoli, wrote a letter to the clergy of his diocese to inform them that he had received from the Pontiff the task of “making a visit, on his behalf, to the Congregation for the Clergy,” on the eve of the announcement of the change in the leadership of the Dicastery. The visit follows the one made by Archbishop Claudio Maniago to the Congregation for Divine Worship, after the acceptance of the resignation of Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah. It is very likely that this from now on will be the practice adopted by Pope Francis also for the other Dicasteries on the occasion of the turnover of the person in charge.

The appointment to the Clergy was long overdue: the current Prefect, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, is in fact about to turn eighty years old next August 18. An apostolic nuncio and then president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, Stella had been appointed to the Clergy in September 2013, a few months after the new Pope was elected.

Francis ruled that Cardinal Stella “remain in charge” of the Congregation “until the new Prefect takes office.”

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