VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis nominated Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches on Feb. 19.
The Pope confirmed both Cardinal Leonardo Sandri as prefect and Archbishop Cyril Vasil as secretary. Both had been initially appointed to their roles by Benedict XVI: Cardinal Sandri in 2007; and Archbishop Vasil, who is a Jesuit and was ordained a priest of the Slovakian Catholic Church, in 2009.
The Congregation for the Oriental Churches “considers those matters … affecting the Catholic Oriental Churches.” There are 22 Eastern Catholic Churches in union with the Pope and the Latin rite; the largest of these is the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, with more than 5 million members.
Pope Francis renewed as members of the congregation both Coptic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak of Alexandria and Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Babylon.
In addition to nominating Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., the Holy Father named Archbishop William Skurla of the Ruthenian Archeparchy of Pittsburgh; Archbishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo of Belo Horizonte, who is also bishop of the Brazilian Faithful of the Eastern Rites; Archbishop Mario Poli of Buenos Aires, who is also bishop of the Argentine Faithful of the Eastern Rites; Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome; Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state; Archbishop Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England; and Bishop Joseph Werth of Transfiguration of Novosibirsk.
Those confirmed as members were Archbishop Berhaneyesus Souraphiel of the Ethiopian Archeparchy of Addis Ababa; Archbishop Jan Babjak of the Slovakian Archdiocese of Presov; Bishop Antoine Audo of the Chaldean Eparchy of Aleppo; Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem; Cardinals Christoph Schonborn, Jean-Louis Tauran, Tarcisio Bertone, Dionigi Tettamanzi, Angelo Scola, Marc Ouellet, Andre Vingt-Trois, Angelo Bagnasco, Reinhard Marx, Timothy Dolan, William Levada, Francesco Monterisi, Kurt Koch, Fernando Filoni, and Edwin O'Brien; Archbishop Piero Marini; and Bishop Peter Burcher of Reykjavik.
Pope Francis nominated as consultors Bishop Dimitrios Salachas, Greek Apostolic Exarch of Greece; and the priests Massimo Pampaloni, Philippe Luisier, Michael Kuchera, Lorenzo Lorusso, Georges Ruyssen, Thomas Pott, Pablo Gefaell, G. Ronald Roberson, Paul Pallath, Adam Konstanc, Guido Marini and George Gallaro.
Those confirmed as consultors to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches were Msgr. Christo Proykov; Hanna Alwan; Borys Gudziak; Father Michel Van Parys; Msgr. Michel Berger; Msgr. Osvaldo Raineri; Father Jan Sergiusz Gajek; Msgr. Natale Loda; and Archpriest Vasyl Hovera.