December 3, 2012

Pope Benedict has appointed Msgr. Jose Bettencourt, a native of Portugal who grew up in Ottawa, as the Holy See’s head of protocol.

Bettencourt is only the second non-Italian to hold the position.

The post had been held by Msgr. Fortunatus Nwachukwa, a Nigerian diplomat.

“We are very proud of him and the honour the Holy Father has conferred on him in calling him to this charge,” said Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa.

In his position, Bettencourt is in charge of the protocol involving the Holy See’s relationships with other states, from welcoming visiting heads of state at the airport to dealings with diplomats and ambassadors accredited to the Vatican.