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Archbishop Fisichella to lead new Pontifical Council for Evangelization

Catholic World News - June 30, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has formally created a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, and named Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, the current president for the Pontifical Academy for Life, as the first president of the new dicastery.

Pope Benedict announced his plans for the new pontifical council on June 28, confirming reports that had circulated around Rome for weeks. The appointment of Archbishop Fisichella had also been widely anticipated.

In setting up the new body, the Pope said that the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization would have “the fundamental task of promoting renewed evangelization in countries where the first announcement of the faith has already been heard and where there are churches of ancient foundation, but where a progressive secularisation of society is being experienced, a kind of 'eclipse of the meaning of God.'"

Archbishop Fisichella, a highly regarded figure in Rome, encountered unwonted criticism earlier this year, when five members of the Pontifical Academy for Life publicly called for Archbishop Fisichella's replacement. Last year, a dispute had erupted when Archbishop Fisichella wrote an essay in L'Osservatore Romano criticizing Brazilian Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho for his handling of a controversial abortion case involving a young girl. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith eventually sided with Archbishop Cardoso Sobrinho.

The new president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, succeeding Archbishop Fisichella, will be Msgr. Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, a Spanish-born priest of Opus Dei who is the pontifical academy's chancellor. The Pope also appointed Father Enrico dal Covolo, a professor that the Pontifical Salesian University, to take another of Archbishop Fisichella’s former posts, as rector of the Lateran University.

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