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Pope names new members of Congregation for Eastern Churches

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Vatican City

Pope Francis confirmed the top leadership of the Congregation for Eastern Churches and named among its new members Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Byzantine Archbishop William Skurla of Pittsburgh.

The Vatican announced Wednesday that the pope confirmed Argentine Cardinal Leonardo Sandri as prefect and Archbishop Cyril Vasil as secretary of the congregation, which assists the Eastern Catholic churches throughout the world and the Latin-rite Catholic dioceses of the Middle East.

The new members also include: Coptic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak of Alexandria, Egypt; Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad; Cardinal-designate Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England; and Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, Australia.

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Pope Francis also reappointed about 20 members to another five-year term, including: Cardinals Timothy Dolan of New York; William Levada, retired prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Edwin O'Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre; and Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

Paulist Fr. Ronald Roberson, associate director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, was named a consultant to the congregation.

Also Wednesday, Pope Francis confirmed Cardinal Kurt Koch as president and Bishop Brian Farrell as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He also confirmed all of the council's members and consultants until the end of their original five-year mandates.

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