VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis named five new members to his international Council of Cardinals and renewed the mandate of four current members, the Vatican announced March 7.
Those whose mandates have been renewed are: Cardinals Seán P. O’Malley of Boston, 78, who was appointed to the council in 2013; Pietro Parolin, 68, Vatican secretary of state, who was first appointed in 2014; Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India, 78, who was appointed in 2013; and Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of Kinshasa, 63, who was appointed to the council in 2020.
The new members appointed are: Cardinals Gérald C. Lacroix of Québec, 65; Juan José Omella Omella of Barcelona, 76; Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, 64; Sérgio da Rocha of São Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, 63; and Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, 78, president of the commission governing Vatican City State.
Those whose mandates were not renewed were: Cardinals Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 80, who was appointed coordinator of the council in 2013; Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany, 69, who was appointed a member of the council in 2013; and Giuseppe Bertello, 80, retired president of the commission governing Vatican City State, also appointed in 2013.
Italian Bishop Marco Mellino, 56, continues as secretary of the council. He had been appointed adjunct secretary in 2018 and secretary in 2020.
Pope Francis first created the international group of cardinals in April 2013 to advise him on the governance of the universal church and to study a plan for reforming the Roman Curia, which resulted in the apostolic constitution, “Praedicate Evangelium” (“Preach the Gospel”), which was released in March 2022. Topics of discussion also have included the church’s response to the abuse of minors, financial reform and economic affairs of the Holy See, and pressing events in the church and world, such as the synod on synodality or the war in Ukraine.
The group, which meets periodically throughout the year, was established to include members from different regions of the world as “a further expression of episcopal communion” and of the help bishops around the world could offer the pope. Other former members who served one five-year term include: the late Cardinal George Pell of Sydney; Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, retired archbishop of Santiago, Chile; and the late Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo.