On October 15, 2020, two days after the last online meeting of the Council of Cardinals — entity created in 2013 to help the Pope in the reform of the Roman Curia — the Holy Father Francis confirmed the Council’s existing six Members and the Coordinator and appointed a new Member as well as a new Secretary.
Henceforth it will be known as the “C7,” which includes the existing six Cardinals now joined by Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, Archbishop of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, stated a press release of the Holy See Press Office.
Cardinal Besungu, 60, has a Licentiate in Moral Theology from Rome’s Alfonsina Academy. He has taught Moral Theology at the Catholic University of Kinshasa and at the Major Seminary of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Lisala.
He has served as Apostolic Administrator of Kole and as Bishop of Mbandaka-Bikoro. He has been Archbishop of Kinshasa since November of 2018 and was created Cardinal by the Pontiff in the last Consistory of October 5, 2019.
The Council’s New Secretary
The Council’s Secretary, Monsignor Marcello Semeraro, was appointed this same day Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Monsignor Marco Mellino, Deputy Secretary since October 2018, succeeds him in the post.
The other members of the Council of Cardinals confirmed by the Pope are Cardinals Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, who is its Coordinator; Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State; Sean Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, India; Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich, Germany; and Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Vatican City’s Government.
Among other functions, the “C7” is responsible for writing the new Apostolic Constitution, which replaces John Paul II’s Pastor Bonus (1988). At present, the text of the new Constitution is being read by the Curia’s Dicasteries.