Pope taps French cardinal as camerlengo, official who takes charge of Vatican when papacy ends

The pope has named French Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran to the role of camerlengo, or chamberlain, who takes over the day-to-day running of the Holy See as soon as a papacy ends.

Tauran replaces retired Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, who served in the position during the transition from Benedict XVI's papacy to that of Francis. Bertone turned 80 on Dec. 2, the age after which cardinals no longer participate in papal conclaves.

The appointment of Tauran, president for the pontifical council for interreligious dialogue, was announced Saturday.

Once a pope dies or retires, the camerlengo places the seal on the pope's study and bedroom, and takes possession of the Apostolic Palace until a new pope is elected.