Pope Francis and Italian Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano are pictured in a 2019 file photo. The pope has named Bishop Semeraro, who has been secretary of his Council of Cardinals, to be the new prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes. CNS photo/Paul Haring
Pope Francis and Italian Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano are pictured in a 2019 file photo. The pope has named Bishop Semeraro, who has been secretary of his Council of Cardinals, to be the new prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes. CNS photo/Paul Haring
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has named Italian Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, secretary of his Council of Cardinals, to be the new prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes.

The bishop, 72, succeeds Cardinal Angelo Becciu, whom the Pope forced to resign in late September because of suspicious financial dealings.

Bishop Marco Mellino, who was adjunct secretary of the Council of Cardinals, will take Bishop Semeraro's place at the council, which Pope Francis established in 2013 to advise him on Church governance and the reform of the Roman Curia.

Announcing Bishop Semeraro's new Vatican post Oct. 15, the Vatican also said Pope Francis reconfirmed the membership of the six cardinals currently on the council and that he was adding Congolese Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of Kinshasa.

The six reconfirmed members are: Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state; Sean P. O'Malley of Boston; Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India; Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany; and Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commission governing Vatican City State.

Bishop Semeraro was born Dec. 22, 1947, in Monteroni di Lecce. He studied at the Puglia regional seminary in Molfetta before beginning studies at Rome's Pontifical Lateran University, where he earned a doctorate in theology.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1971, he taught dogmatic theology in Puglia and at the Lateran University.

St. John Paul II named him bishop of Oria in 1998 and bishop of Albano, just outside of Rome, in 2004.