Father Amato, a theology professor at the Salesian University of Rome, was already a consultor of the Vatican dicastery. The Pope will ordain him an archbishop on Jan. 6.
The priest succeeds Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, also a Salesian, who was appointed archbishop of Genoa last week.
Angelo Amato was born 64 years ago in Molfetta, in southern Italy. Ordained a priest in 1967, he obtained a licentiate in philosophy from the Salesian University and a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University in 1974.
Father Amato has collaborated in the writing of some documents of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, including "Dominus Iesus" of August 2000.
He is a consultor of the pontifical councils for Promoting Christian Unity and for Interreligious Dialogue. He is also an adviser to the Pontifical International Marian Academy, and secretary of the Pontifical Academy of Theology.
In the doctrinal congregation, Father Amato will be the right-hand man of the prefect, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
According to the 1988 apostolic constitution on the Roman Curia, "Pastor Bonus," "the duty proper to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world: for this reason everything which in any way touches such matter falls within its competence."
The congregation also includes an undersecretary, Dominican Father Joseph Augustine Di Noia; a Promoter of Justice, Monsignor Charles Scicluna; and a staff of 31, according to the 2001 Annuario Pontificio.
The congregation's work is divided into four distinct sections: the doctrinal office, the disciplinary office, the matrimonial office, and that for priests.