On 5 December 2017, Fr. Ciro Benedettini (MAPRAES) was admitted into the diplomatic corps of the Republic of San Marino, the oldest and smallest Republic in the world, and within the geographic confines of Italy. He swore on the Holy Scriptures before the Captains Regent, the two heads of State of the Republic (elected for only 6 months). For a long time the Foreign Secretary of the small State tried to convince Fr. Ciro to accept this position; however, he refused on the grounds of incompatibility since until January 2016 he was an employee of the Vatican as Vice Director of the Press Office of the Holy See.
Fr. Ciro was given a diplomatic passport together with all the privileges afforded to diplomats (including, if he so wished, a car with diplomatic license plates). The figure of Ecclesiastical Counsellor of the Embassy to the Holy See is typical of countries with a Catholic majority. The title expresses the task, but does not involve any special duties other than participating in ten events at the Vatican. In fact, even more than an assignment, it was an honorary recognition that the tiny Republic granted to one of its native sons.
Currently, since 01 February 2017, Fr. Ciro has been the Editor in Chief of the magazine “L’eco di san Gabriele”, since 1913 the monthly publication of the Passionists of the Shrine of St. Gabriel. Previously, in 1994, he was appointed Vice Director of the Vatican Press Office. In that capacity, in which he served for 21 years until 31 December 2016, he became the “microphone of three Popes.” Initially he collaborated with Joaquín Navarro-Valls, then with the Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, under Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.