Valentina di Giorgio
(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 07.03.2023).-After the period expired for which they were appointed, made known on Tuesday, March 7, was the appointment of the new members of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals. The Council is a consultative body whose mission is to advise the Holy Father in the government of the Church. Pope Francis instituted it on April 13, 2013. It has been called colloquially the Pope’s G8. Four groups have preceded it (2013-2014; 2014-2018; 2018-2020 and 2020-2023). The new group is made up of:
- Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State
- Cardinal Fernando Vérgez, LC, President of the Governorate of Vatican City State
- Cardinal Fredolin Besungu, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Kinshasa
- Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Boston
- Cardinal Juan José Omella, Archbishop of Barcelona
- Cardinal Gérald Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec
- Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, Archbishop of Luxembourg
- Cardinal Sergio da Roxha, Archbishop of San Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
Monsignor Marco Melino is the group’s Secretary. The appoints were made as the period of the previous Council expired. The Archbishops of Munich (Marx), Tegucigalpa (Maradiaga) Bombay (Gracias) and Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello (Vatican) were not renewed.
The new Council is made up of four Religious of three Congregations (two Capuchins, a Jesuit and a Legionary of Christ), and four ecclesiastics from the diocesan clergy. Asia and Oceania are the Continents not represented in this new Council. Of the three countries with the greatest number of Catholics (Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines) only Brazil is represented.
Some commentators were surprised to see, for example, that the Archbishop of Luxembourg was chosen, as he doesn’t represent something significant on the world ecclesiastical scene (in fact, that diocese has experienced a decrease in the number of Catholics during the Jesuit Cardinal’s episcopate). Surprising, too, is that the Archbishop of Barcelona was chosen and not that of Madrid, topic of not little relevance in Spain. Surprising also, finally, is that an Archbishop was chosen of a Brazilian diocese less relevant than Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia or São Paolo.
In the recent past the Council of Cardinals was concerned, for instance, with the new Constitution on the Roman Curia. The Pope’s new Council will meet this coming April.