Days after asking Cardinal Bechara Peter Rai, the Maronite patriarch of Antioch, to prepare the Way of the Cross for Rome’s Coliseum on Good Friday, Pope Benedict XVI announced the cardinal’s assignments to the Roman Curia.
The Holy Father named him a member of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
Two months after receiving their red hats, the six newest members of the College of Cardinals have received their assignments as members of Vatican congregations, councils and offices — one of the clearest ways they help Pope Benedict XVI govern the universal church.
While keeping their main jobs, the new assignments allow the cardinals to bring their experience and perspective to bear on the discussions and decisions of the central church offices that assist the pope.
Creating the new cardinals on 24 November, Pope Benedict had told them: “Particularly through the work you do for the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, you will be my valued co-workers, first and foremost in my apostolic ministry for the fullness of catholicity, as pastor of the whole flock of Christ and prime guarantor of its doctrine, discipline and morals.”
The assignments announced by the Vatican on 31 January included:
— For U.S. Cardinal James M. Harvey, archpriest of Rome’s Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, membership on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and on the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, which oversees Vatican property and investments.
— Indian Cardinal Baselio Cleemis Thottunkal, head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, was named a member of the Congregation for Eastern Churches and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
— Nigerian Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja was named a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the presiding committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
— Colombian Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota was named a member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
— Philippine Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila was named a member of presiding committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.