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.
Italian Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and Croatian Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, were among the others named members of the new council. The Vatican announced in October that Pope Benedict had chosen new evangelization as the theme for the next world Synod of Bishops, which is expected to meet in 2012.
Also Jan. 5, the Vatican released the names of new members and consultants for the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry. The new members included Marylee J. Meehan, the U.S.-based president of the International Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants. The new consultants included John M. Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia.
The Vatican also announced that Pope Benedict had named Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, a priest of the Diocese of Rome, to be undersecretary of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and he chose Miguel A.L. Nicolelis, a professor of neurobiology, biomedical engineering and psychological and brain sciences at Duke University in North Carolina, to be a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
The pope named Italian Archbishop Luigi Travaglino, an official in the Vatican Secretariat of State, to be the Vatican's permanent observer at the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program, which have their headquarters in Rome.