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Pope Francis reappoints Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley to Council of Cardinals: ‘The pope leads with a shepherd’s heart’

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Boston Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, listens as Pope Francis speaks during a meeting with members of the commission at the Vatican April 29, 2022. Cardinal O'Malley says he is grateful for Pope Francis' "faith and confidence in my assistance" as a member of the Council of Cardinals. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

BOSTON– Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of Boston said March 7 he is grateful for Pope Francis’ “faith and confidence in my assistance” as a member of the Council of Cardinals.

“It is an honor to serve in this capacity,” the cardinal said in a statement about the pope reappointing him to the council that day.

“With membership drawn from throughout the world, the council advises Pope Francis on matters concerning the life of the universal church,” Cardinal O’Malley said.

“As we approach the 10th anniversary of Pope Francis’ election on March 13, we are reminded of the gift of the Holy Father’s spiritual and pastoral leadership for the more than 1 billion Catholics across the globe,” he said. “The pope leads with a shepherd’s heart, seeking out those most in need and the forgotten and voiceless on the peripheries of our societies, inspiring us all to hear and respond to the Lord’s call to service on behalf of all our brothers and sisters.”

He added, “During this season of Lent, we ask God’s blessing on Pope Francis for continued good health and give thanks for the Holy Father’s joy in serving Christ and the people of God.”

Shortly after his election, Pope Francis named Cardinal O’Malley to the Council of Cardinals, commonly called the “group of nine” or simply the “G9.”

The pope first created the international group of cardinals in April 2013 to advise him on the governance of the universal church and to study a plan for reforming the Roman Curia, which resulted in the apostolic constitution, “Praedicate Evangelium” (“Preach the Gospel”), released in March 2022. Topics of discussion among the G9 also have included the church’s response to the abuse of minors, financial reform and economic affairs of the Holy See, and pressing events in the church and world, such as the synod on synodality or the war in Ukraine.

The group, which meets periodically throughout the year, was established to include cardinals from different regions of the world as “a further expression of episcopal communion” and of the help bishops from around the world could offer the pope.

Cardinal O’Malley, 78, also is president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Pope Francis created the commission in March 2014.

The Ohio-born cardinal, who is a Capuchin Franciscan, has headed the Archdiocese of Boston since 2003. He was made a cardinal in 2006.

Before St. John Paul II named him archbishop for Boston, then-Bishop O’Malley headed the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida, from 2002 to 2003. He was the bishop of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, from 1992 to 2002, and the bishop of the Diocese of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, from 1984 to 1992.