THE Vatican's new representative in Ireland will take up residency in Dublin in January.
Irish-American priest Monsignor Charles Brown (52) has been announced as the new Papal Nuncio in Ireland following a turbulent period of relations between the Republic and the Holy See over sex abuse scandals.
The Irish Government, which announced the closure of its embassy to the Holy See last month for economic reasons, gave its approval for the new papal ambassador at a cabinet meeting last week.
Ireland has been without a papal representative since the former Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, was recalled to Rome in July.
The latest report on the Cloyne Diocese earlier this year accused priests of failing to report allegations of abuse to the civil authorities as recently as 2009, and said the Vatican had given them support by undermining guidelines in a letter to bishops.
In July, the Vatican took the unusual step of withdrawing its Papal Nuncio in Ireland, after a strong speech by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dail.
Mr Kenny said "dysfunction, disconnection and elitism and narcissism" dominated the Vatican which put the reputation of the church ahead of the welfare of children.
The new nuncio has worked at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican department that also dealt with the child abuse scandals since 1994, headed by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
He was ordained a priest in 1989 in St Patrick's Cathedral, New York, and was based at St Brendan's parish in the Bronx until 1991.
Monsignor Brown's appointment is viewed as an attempt to build bridges between Rome and the Irish Government by some quarters as he does not come from the Vatican diplomatic corps.
He said the new papal nuncio was a "theologian" who was "much more focused on theology than relations between church and state".
Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore welcomed the appointment. He added that he would be meeting Monsignor Brown shortly after his arrival in Dublin to take up his position.