By Vatican News
The Holy See Press Office Bulletin announced on Saturday that the Holy Father has approved the election of the Dean and Vice-Dean and Deputy Dean of the Cardinal of Cardinals.
The statement reported that "On 18 January 2020 the Holy Father approved the election – by the cardinals of the Order of Bishops – of the dean of the College of Cardinals". For the next five years, His Eminence Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re will fulfill this important role. In addition to holding the Title of the Suburbicarian Church of Sabina-Poggio Mirteto, he "will also assume the Title of the Suburbicarian Church of Ostia", the statement said.
Pope Francis approved the election of the Vice-Dean, His Eminence Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, of the Title of Santi Biagio e Carlo ai Catinari, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re is Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops and President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He was born on 30 January 1934 in Borno (Brescia), Italy and ordained a priest in 1957. In 1987 he was appointed Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, two years later he was named Substitute of the Secretariat of State, a post he held for 11 years. On 16 September 2000 the Holy Father appointed him Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. John Paul II named him a cardinal in 2001. He has exercised the role of Vice-Dean since June 2017.
Role of the Cardinal Dean
Called the "First among equals", the Cardinal Dean presides over the College of Cardinals. In the event of the death or resignation of a pope, he plays a key role in governing the Vatican while the See remains vacant. He calls his fellow cardinals to Rome and presides over the daily General Congregations held prior to a conclave. If he is under the age of 80, he also presides over the conclave itself.