Cor Unum is one of 12 Pontifical Councils in the Vatican which advise Pope Benedict XVI on matters ranging from interfaith dialogue to migrant issues.
Mr Michael Thio, 65, a former director of British Telecom, will serve as a member of the Pontifical Council of Cor Unum – or ‘One Heart’ – which oversees the Church’s charity programmes.
The appointment was announced by the Vatican – the central governing body for Catholics around the world – last Thursday.
He is quoted as saying that he would bring ‘systemic change’ to the lives of the poor, starting with those in developing countries.
Some plans include the provision of micro-finance programmes, and livestock for those in poverty-stricken nations, Mr Thio said. ‘We will restore dignity to the poor. They will beg no more.’