VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Underscoring the geographical diversity of his selections, Pope Francis named 15 cardinal electors “from 14 nations of every continent, showing the inseparable link between the church of Rome and the particular churches present in the world.”
The pope announced the names Jan. 4, after praying the Angelus with a crowd in St. Peter’s Square. He said he would formally induct the men into the College of Cardinals Feb. 14.
With the appointments, the pope continues a movement he started with his first batch of cardinals a year ago, giving more representation at the highest levels of the church to poorer countries in the global south. According to the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the new cardinals will include the first in history from Cape Verde, Tonga and Myanmar.
Three of the new cardinal electors, who will be eligible to vote in a papal conclave, hail from Asia, three from Latin America, two from Africa and two from Oceania.
Of the five Europeans on the list, three come from dioceses in Italy and Spain that have not traditionally had cardinals as bishops — another sign of Pope Francis’ willingness to break precedent. While giving red hats to the archbishops of Ancona-Osimo and Agrigento, Italy, the pope will once again pass over the leaders of Venice and Turin, both historically more prestigious dioceses.
Only one of the new cardinals, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, is a member of the church’s central administration, the Roman Curia.
Announcing the appointments, Pope Francis noted that the ceremony to induct the new cardinals will follow a two-day meeting of the entire college, Feb. 12-13, “to reflect on guidelines and proposals for reform of the Roman Curia.”
The pope’s nine-member Council of Cardinals is currently at work on a major reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, including a new apostolic constitution for the curia.
In addition to the 15 electors, Pope Francis named five new cardinals who are over the age of 80 and, therefore, ineligible to vote in a conclave. Popes have used such nominations to honor churchmen for their scholarship or other contributions.
Pope Francis said he had chosen to honor five retired bishops “distinguished for their pastoral charity in service to the Holy See and the church,” representing “so many bishops who, with the same pastoral solicitude, have given testimony of love for Christ and the people of God, whether in particular churches, the Roman Curia or (Read More)