VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) –– Pope Francis has announced the new roster of cardinals comprising his select Council of Cardinals, including the prominently pro-LGBT Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich amongst the number.
In a March 7 press release, the Holy See announced that Pope Francis had restructured his famous advisory group of nine cardinals, known as the Council of Cardinals and also, for a time, as C9. Only four of the cardinals remain in place, with the other five being new to the group.
The selection highlights the manner in which the Pontiff is looking to govern the Catholic Church – and the Vatican in particular – in the next stage of his pontificate, with the appointments appearing to centralize both power and information, and channel it to the Casa Santa Martha.
The small number of cardinals represents the people which the Pope decides to rely upon for advice, as well as the arguments which he is likely to promote more heavily. As such, the C9 has a crucial role, acting in a sense as a mini-version of the Vatican Curia. From its inception, the C9 was tasked with drawing up the reforms of the Roman Curia, which finally emerged last March.
While it started out with nine cardinals at its inception in 2013, the Pope then dropped 3 cardinals in 2018 – including the late Cardinal George Pell – while adding Cardinal Ambongo Besungu in 2020 to bring the number to 7. With today’s changes, the cardinals number nine once again.
The Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, remains, as do three other cardinals:
- Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston.
- Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay.
- Ambongo Besungu, the Archbishop of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Among the five new cardinals are:
- Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, the president of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
- Juan José Omella, the Archbishop of Barcelona.
- Gérald Lacroix, the Archbishop of Quebec;
- Jean-Claude Hollerich, the Archbishop of Luxembourg.
- Sérgio da Rocha, the Archbishop of San Salvador de Bahia.
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the emeritus Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the former president of the Vatican Governorate, are among those whose term has not been renewed.
Also dropped from the select group of advisors is the 69-year-old Cardinal Reinhard Marx. As noted by LifeSite’s Dr. Maike Hickson, Marx and Francis have had a strained relationship.
Significantly, Cdl Marx is out.
Marx and Pope Francis certainly had a difficult relationship, with Marx trying to tell the pope what to do, also on the background of Germany’s financial power.
Or Cdl. Kasper turning on Marx, against German synod? https://t.co/M9rRHxdOsE
— Dr. Maike Hickson (@HicksonMaike) March 7, 2023
Marx had been part of the C9 since 2013, and also the co-ordinator of the Vatican’s Council for the Economy, and famously had his resignation over mishandling of sex abuse cases refused by Francis in 2021. But, as LifeSite has reported, Marx has not been afraid to exert his own will and power in the Vatican, even to the displeasure of Francis.
READ: Germany’s chief cardinal shows he can sway Pope Francis
The inclusion of Hollerich is arguably the most prominent appointment among the new cardinals taking their seats at the table. As well as head of the European Bishops’ Conference and Archbishop of Luxembourg, Hollerich is relator general of the Synod on Synodality, and as such hold a crucial role in a cause which is close to Francis’ heart.
READ: Cdl. Hollerich brags that Synod on Synodality opponents ‘won’t be able to stop it’
His appointment has been welcomed by supporters of the radical Synod agenda.
Important revamp takes Francis reform “into the deep”: these guys ‘get’ the pontificate at a very deep level: synodal, pastoral, missionary … https://t.co/jXQnvxBQqV
— 🇺🇦 Austen Ivereigh 🇺🇦 (@austeni) March 7, 2023
In many ways, Hollerich fills the hole left by the now-exiting Marx, with Hollerich’s promotion of anti-Catholic ideology – particularly homosexuality – being just as prominent as Marx’s.
Hollerich has described as “false” the Church’s denouncement of homosexual acts as sinful, which comes on top of his openness to “ordaining” women to the sacred priesthood and opening Holy Orders to married men.
In October he gave a lengthy interview to L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s daily newspaper, in which he continued his already public promotion of homosexuality. “No one excluded: even remarried divorcees, even homosexuals, everyone,” he stated, adding that the “Kingdom of God is not an exclusive club.” Instead, he described it as opening its doors “to everyone, without discrimination.”
He argued that for the Catholic Church, “a deeper change of cultural paradigm is needed, and a conversion of the spirit,” and that offering same-sex “blessings,” like Protestant churches, was not enough.
But shortly before he died, the late Cardinal Pell wrote that the Synod had “developed into a toxic nightmare despite the bishops’ professed good intentions.”
READ: Cdl. Pell called Synod on Synodality a ‘toxic nightmare’ just before he died
The Australian cardinal, who served on the C9 for four years, accused Hollerich of open heterodoxy, saying that “as the Relator (chief writer and manager) [of the latest Synod working document] Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich has publicly rejected the basic teachings of the Church on sexuality, on the grounds that they contradict modern science.”
With the Vatican currently in a state of financial upheaval and the Pope issuing a steady stream of dictates regarding the Vatican’s governance and financial situation, the importance of the choices of his revamped C9 should not be underestimated.