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Pope renews cabinet of cardinal advisers, includes new members

On March 7, 2023, Pope Francis announced the renewal of his cabinet of cardinal advisers from around the world, appointing new members and reconfirming others to assist him in the administration of the Catholic Church. 

This council was established by Francis one month into his papacy with the aim of advising him on Vatican bureaucracy reform. Despite having issued a new blueprint last year after nearly a decade of consultation, Francis has decided to maintain this group of hand-picked cardinals who represent the Church on nearly every continent. 

Among those reappointed are Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, and Cardinal Fernando Vergez, head of the Vatican City State. The new members include Cardinal Juan José Omella Omella, archbishop of Barcelona, Spain, Cardinal Gérald C. Lacroix, archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, archbishop of Luxembourg, and Cardinal Sérgio da Rocha, archbishop of São Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. The others whose positions were renewed include Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, the archbishop of Kinshasa, Congo; Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, India and Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, archbishop of Boston.

Pope Francis appreciated the times when the small group of cardinals representing the churches in almost all continents had consulted with him.

The cardinals meet every few months for two or three days at the Vatican, with the next meeting scheduled for April 24. The council provides Francis with regular, intimate group consultations with representatives of the global Church, formalizing a new approach to papal advisory councils.

The duties of a cardinal include electing a new pope, acting as his principal counselors, and aiding in the government of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world. Cardinals serve as chief officials of the Roman Curia (the papal bureaucracy), as bishops of major dioceses, and often as papal envoys. 

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