Pope Francis named 21 new cardinals on Sunday, most of them from continents other than Europe – which dominated the Catholic hierarchy for much of the Church’s history – and further casts their mark on a group of people who will someday be next. The pontiff can choose.
Sixteen of those who received the coveted Red Cardinal’s hat from Francis at a convention ceremony at the Vatican on 27 August are under the age of 80 and thus would be eligible to vote for his successor if a conclave – in which the pontiff was secretly are elected – were to be held.
Francis read out the names of his choice after delivering a traditional Sunday remark to the public in St Peter’s Square from an open window of the Apostolic Palace.
Two from India and two from Ghana, Nigeria, Singapore, East Timor, Paraguay and Brazil were among those tapped for promotion by the pontiff in keeping with Francis’ determination to make church leaders reflect the global face of the Catholic Church. There will be one bishop. ,
With church growth largely stagnant or at its most sluggish in much of Europe and North America, the Vatican has been attentive to its flocks in developing countries, including Africa, where the number of faithful has been increasing in recent decades. Only one new cardinal was named from the United States: Robert Walter McElroy, Bishop of San Diego, California.
This is the eighth batch of cardinals Francis has named since he became pontiff in 2013. A large majority of those eligible to vote at the conclave were appointed by him, increasing the likelihood that he would choose someone who shares his papacy as his successor. Priorities, which include addressing the marginalized sections of society and environmental hazards.
With the addition of the new batch, a total of 131 cardinals will be young enough to elect a pope, while the number of cardinals too old to vote will increase to 96.
The Pontiff has traditionally chosen his closest advisers and allies in the Vatican from among the ranks of cardinals, who have been dubbed “princes of the Church”.
These are the churchmen named by Francis:
– Jean-Marc Evelyn, Archbishop of Marseille, France; Peter Okpalke, Bishop of Ekvulobia, Nigeria; Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, Archbishop of Manaus, Brazil; Philippe Neri Antonio Sebesto di Rosario Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa and Damo, India; Robert Walter McElroy, Bishop of San Diego, California; Virgilio do Carmo da Silva, Archbishop of Dili, East Timor; Oscar Cantoni, Bishop of Como, Italy; Anthony Poola. Archbishop of Hyderabad, India; Paulo Caesar Costa, Archbishop of Brasilia, Brazil; Richard Kuia Bawobre, WA, Bishop of Ghana; William Goh Seung Chi, Archbishop of Singapore; Adalberto Martínez Flores, Archbishop of Asuncion, Paraguay; and Giorgio Marengo, Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
In addition to churchmen who are under 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave, there are three bishops who work at the Vatican: Britain’s Arthur Roche, the Congregation’s Prefect for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Lazaro Yoo Hyung-sik of South Korea, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy; and Fernando Verghese Alzaga of Spain, Chairman of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and Governor of Vatican City State.
Francis maintains in his choice the tradition of naming certain persons who are too old to vote at a convention but whose long decades of dedication to the Catholic Church are honored with the rank of cardinal. In this latest batch of nominations, they are Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal, Emeritus Archbishop of Cartagena, Colombia; Lucas van Looy, Emeritus Archbishop of Ghent, Belgium; Arrigo Miglio, Cagliari, Emeritus Archbishop of Sardinia; A Jesuit professor of theology, Rev. Gianfranco Ghirlanda; and Fortunato Frezza, Canon of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Presiding over the concussion this summer adds to an already ambitious program in the coming months for Francis, who has begun using a wheelchair or cane because of a knee ligament problem. On Saturday, the Vatican released details of the 85-year-old pontiff’s pilgrimage to the Congo and South Sudan from July 2 to 7. He is also due to make a pilgrimage to Canada later in July to personally apologize for the abuses committed by the church and church institutions against indigenous people in that country.
Those elected to become cardinals are almost as important as those who were not elected, despite holding positions that have traditionally earned them a red hat in the past.
In the selection of Francis on Sunday, he passed the chief archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordillon. Earlier this month, Cordillon said he would no longer allow US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to receive communion because of her support for abortion rights.
While Francis has publicly weighed in on the soon-to-be-expected US Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights, in the past he has denounced the Communion’s political weaponization.
The new US cardinal, McElroy, takes a very different view from Cordillon. He was among the relatively few American bishops who many years ago called for American church policy to better reflect Francis’ concerns for the global poor. She also signed a statement last year expressing support for LGBTQ youth and condemning the bullying directed at them.
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