Pope picks cardinal from Congo for his advisory council

Fridolin Ambongo Besungu
Tiziana FABI | AFP

Council now has 7 members, and a new secretary, as former secretary goes to lead Congregation for Saints’ Causes.

Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, as a member of the Council of Cardinals.

This advisory council of cardinals was created in 2013 by Pope Francis to assist him in his aim to revise the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus (1988), which outlines the running of the Curia.

The council was quickly dubbed the C-8, as it was originally made up of eight cardinals, and then eventually came to be referred to as the C-6, with the departure of some of the original members.

The C-6 is now the C-7, with the appointment of Cardinal Ambongo Besungu, who is 60 years old and has been a bishop since 2004.

The appointment comes after the 34th meeting of the council, which was held October 13. The cardinals took stock of the work accomplished and are now studying “how to support the implementation of the new Constitution, once promulgated,” according to the Vatican press office.

The other members are:

— Cardinals Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras) and coordinator of the group;

— Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin;

— Seán Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston (USA);

— Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay (India);

— Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of München und Freising (Federal Republic of Germany); and

— Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

Cardinal Ambongo was appointed metropolitan archbishop of Kinshasa and cardinal in 2019. His predecessor in the Congolese capital, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, was a member of the Council of Cardinals from 2013 to 2018.

The Holy Father also moved a former under-secretary of the council to the spot of secretary: Bishop Marco Mellino.

Marco Mellino is 54 years old and a native of Canale, Italy. He became a priest in 1991 and bishop in 2018.

He replaces in the position of secretary Bishop Marcello Semeraro, 72, of Albano, Italy. Bishop Semeraro has been named the prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, after the retirement of Cardinal Giovanni Becciu in the midst of charges of financial mismanagement.

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