For most American Catholics, perhaps the only familiar name among Pope Francis’ latest round of picks for new cardinals is that of Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the U.S. since 2016.
But the nomination of the 77-year-old French diplomat was a bit of a surprise. Typically, bishops of large, well-known dioceses or Vatican officials in important posts rank higher than papal ambassadors when it comes to deciding who gets a cardinal’s red hat.
Before coming to Washington, Pierre served as nuncio in Uganda, Haiti, and Mexico. In the U.S., he has overseen the selection process for a generation of new bishops, helped navigate the tricky politics involving two presidential administrations, and coordinated the implementation of the Vatican’s new policy for investigating bishops accused of abuse or cover-up amid the resurgence of the clerical abuse crisis.