Paul Gallagher (bishop)

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Paul Gallagher

Secretary for Relations with States
Archbishop Gallagher in 2018
Appointed8 November 2014
PredecessorDominique Mamberti
Other post(s)Titular Archbishop of Hodelm (2004–present)
Ordination31 July 1977
by Derek Worlock
Consecration13 March 2004
by Angelo Sodano
Personal details
Paul Richard Gallagher

(1954-01-23) 23 January 1954 (age 70)
DenominationRoman Catholicism
Previous post(s)Apostolic Nuncio to Burundi (2004–2009)
Apostolic Nuncio to Guatemala (2009–2012)
Apostolic Nuncio to Australia (2012–2014)
Alma materPontifical Gregorian University (JCD), Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy
MottoHumiliter cum Deo
Humbly with God
Coat of armsPaul Gallagher's coat of arms
Styles of
Paul Gallagher
Reference styleThe Most Reverend
Spoken styleYour Grace
Religious styleArchbishop

Paul Richard Gallagher, GCIH (born 23 January 1954) is a British prelate of the Catholic Church who has been Secretary for Relations with States within the Holy See's Secretariat of State since November 2014. He has worked in the diplomatic service of the Holy See since 1984 and has held the rank of archbishop and apostolic nuncio since 2004, serving as nuncio in Burundi, Guatemala, and Australia.


Early life[edit]

He was born in Liverpool, England, and was educated at St Francis Xavier’s College in Woolton.[1] Ordained by Archbishop Derek Worlock on 31 July 1977 for the Archdiocese of Liverpool, he served in Fazakerley, before taking courses at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. He later earned a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University, becoming a member of the Holy See's diplomatic service on 1 May 1984.


He held posts in Tanzania, Uruguay, the Philippines, and the Vatican Secretariat of State. He was appointed Counselor, First Class, on 1 May 1997, when working at the Nunciature in Burundi. He worked in its Second Section, from 1995 to 2000 at the same time as the present Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin.

On 18 August 2000, Pope John Paul II named him Special Envoy as Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.[2]

John Paul appointed him Apostolic Nuncio to Burundi on 22 January 2004.[3] His residence in that country was bombed in 2008.[4]

He was appointed nuncio to Guatemala on 19 February 2009.[5]

Ruth Gledhill, the religious affairs correspondent of The Times, mentioned him as a possible candidate for the position of Archbishop of Westminster in succession to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.[6] However, the successor, announced on 3 April 2009, was Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

On 11 December 2012, he was appointed Papal Nuncio to Australia,[7] a post he held until being made Secretary for Relations with States on 8 November 2014 by Pope Francis.[8][9]

In 2015, a comprehensive agreement was signed by the Holy See and Palestine which may serve the twofold goal of stimulating peace in the Middle East and providing a model for similar treaties. The text of the treaty was agreed upon on 13 May, and the document was signed on 26 June in the Apostolic Palace by Gallagher and by Riad al-Malki, minister of foreign affairs of Palestine. Gallagher voiced hope “that the present agreement may in some way be a stimulus to bringing a definitive end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continues to cause suffering for both parties. I also hope that the much desired two-state solution may become a reality as soon as possible.”[10]

In July 2015, Gallagher said in an interview that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the 2015 Iran nuclear deal) was viewed "in a positive light" by the Holy See because it believed that controversies and difficulties must always be resolved through dialogue and negotiation.[11]

In a February 2016 interview he said, "Let's not be kidding ourselves about what the stakes are here: If we are going to bring peace, if we are going to reconcile nations, if we are going to secure countries and communities, particularly minorities, particularly people who are persecuted, we are going to have to make an unprecedented effort," Gallagher speaking specifically of the crisis in Syria and Iraq, where so-called Islamic State militants have captured large swaths of territory and driven out tens of thousands of Christians and members of other minority groups, Gallagher said he is hopeful for a resolution of the conflict".[12]

In 2020, he met the People's Republic of China's foreign minister, Wang Yi.[13]

In March 2021, Archbishop Gallagher said that Pope Francisvisit to Iraq was “a geopolitical problem, because Christians have always been there, they have always had a role amidst the other communities, the larger, more powerful communities,”.[14]

When speaking in July 2022 of his visit to Ukraine in May that year, he was asked if his comment describing Russia as the aggressor was made in the name of the pope. Gallagher replied, "I was speaking in the name of the Holy See, and the Holy Father hasn’t corrected me so far on what I’ve said on his behalf".[15]

Archbishop Gallagher was the representative of pope Francis at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London in September 2022.[16]

In the context of the Israel-Hamas war, in October 2023 he spoke on the phone to Iran's foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, at the request of the latter.[17][18]

Archbishop Paul Gallagher visited Vietnam from 9-14 April 2024 where he met the Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chính.[19]

Gallagher speaks native English, near-native Italian and fluent French and Spanish.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Interview: The Apostolic Nuncio". ABC News (Australia). 4 May 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 18.08.2000" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 18 August 2000. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 22.01.2004" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 22 January 2004. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Apostolic Nuncio in Burundi suffers attack". CNA. 28 April 2008.
  5. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 19.02.2009" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  6. ^ Pope may impose his man as English Catholic leader, Ruth Gledhill, The Times, 21 March 2009.
  7. ^ "Rinunce e nomine, 11.12.2012" (Press release). Vatican Press Office. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Archbishop Gallagher: A priest and a diplomat". Vatican Radio.
  9. ^ Pentin, Edward (8 November 2014). "Cardinal Burke to Malta, Mamberti to Apostolic Signatura". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  10. ^ "Holy See, Palestine Sign Treaty Protecting Religious Liberty". National Catholic Register. 27 June 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  11. ^ Gallagher: Russia can play a role in bringing stability to the Mediterranean Archived 4 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Vatican envoys risk their lives to end 'World War III,' archbishop says". 29 February 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  13. ^ Vatican, China, hold extremely rare high-level diplomatic meeting
  14. ^ "Crux".
  15. ^ Interview: Archbishop Gallagher on Vatican diplomacy, Ukraine and the threat of World War III
  16. ^ "Archbishop Paul Gallagher to represent Pope Francis at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral".
  17. ^ Archbishop Gallagher speaks with Iran’s Foreign Minister by phone
  18. ^ Iran FM pens letter to Vatican counterpart, calls on followers of Abrahamic religions to confront Gaza aggression
  19. ^ Top Vatican diplomat visits Vietnam amid rapprochement efforts
  20. ^ "Cidadãos Estrangeiros Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas" (in Portuguese). Presidência da República Portuguesa. Retrieved 3 July 2015.

External links[edit]

Media related to Paul Richard Gallagher at Wikimedia Commons

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by — TITULAR —
Archbishop of Hodelm
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Burundi
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Guatemala
Succeeded by
Preceded by Apostolic Nuncio to Australia
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Secretary for Relations with States