Pope replaces divisive Vatican figure with top diplomat

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Francis on Saturday appointed a senior Vatican diplomat as his Secretary of State, ousting the powerful and divisive cardinal Tarcisio Bertone as he looks to overhaul the Catholic Church's government, the Vatican said in a statement.

His replacement for what is widely considered the "number two" position at the Vatican, Italian cleric Pietro Parolin, is currently the envoy to Venezuela and has worked on improving ties with communist China.