VATICAN CITY -- The new Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization has its first members, including Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York.
The council, formally established in October, is charged with renewing and strengthening the faith in traditionally Christian countries where religious belief and practice are threatened by secularism and indifference.
Pope Benedict XVI named 19 cardinals and bishops to be members of the council Jan. 5.
In addition to Dolan, the members included: Australian Cardinal George Pell of Sydney; Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; and U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The pope also named Belgian Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels to the new council. The archbishop created controversy in Belgium just before Christmas when he told a parliamentary commission that the church should not automatically be expected to compensate victims of clerical sex abuse.