Pope taps cardinal from Congo to join group of key advisors

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis named the archbishop of Kinshasa, Congo, to his core group of cardinal advisers Thursday, giving the African prelate an influential new role in helping shape Vatican policy.

Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu joins a geographically diverse group of seven cardinals who are helping Francis run the church and reorganize the Vatican bureaucracy.

Besungu, a Cappuchin friar, was named archbishop of one of Africa’s biggest archdioceses in 2018 and was made a cardinal a year later.

His predecessor in Kinshasa, Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, was also a member of Francis’ cabinet of advisors but stepped down in 2018 when he retired.

Francis created the group soon after he was elected in 2013 to give him a core group of advisers from outside the Vatican who could provide perspectives from the church around the world.

They meet every three or four months, most recently this week via a conference call due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

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