ROME -- Pope Francis has renewed his cabinet of cardinal advisers from around the world, naming a handful of new members Tuesday and reconfirming others to help him run the Catholic Church.
Francis instituted the Council of Cardinals one month into his papacy, on April 13, 2013, with a primary goal of advising him on the reform of the Vatican bureaucracy. After nearly a decade of consultation, Francis issued a new blueprint for the Vatican bureaucracy last year.
Nevertheless, the Jesuit pope clearly appreciated the regular opportunities to consult with a small number of hand-picked cardinals representing the church on nearly every continent, and decided to keep the cabinet alive, albeit with some new members.
Two are important Holy See officials: the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin; and the head of the Vatican City State, Cardinal Fernando Vergez.
Other members who were renewed are 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.
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 cardinals meet every few months for two or three days at the Vatican. The next meeting is scheduled for April 24.
A cardinal’s main job is to advise a pope, and to elect a new one. Past pontiffs usually met with cardinals one-on-one or in occasional big meetings, known as consistories. The novelty of Francis’ Council of Cardinals was that he formalized a regular, intimate group consultation with representatives of the global church.