The Pope announces that he will create 21 new cardinals at the end of September

The Pope announces that he will create 21 new cardinals at the end of September

Pope Francis announced on Sunday that he would create 21 new cardinals at the end of September, notably from Latin America, Africa and Asia, to strengthen "the universality of the Church".

The cardinals, who wear the red cassock, are the main advisers and administrators of the pope. Those of them who are under 80, which is the case for 18 of the next 21 new cardinals, participate in the vote to appoint the pope.

“Their provenance expresses the universality of the Church which continues to proclaim God's merciful love for all the peoples of the earth,” Francis said after his weekly Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace on St. Peter's Square.

They will be created at a consistory (an assembly of cardinals) at the end of September, the ninth for the creation of cardinals under Francis, who at 86 is in the tenth year of his papacy and intends to leave a lasting mark on the Vatican.

His choices are being watched closely as an indication of the future direction of the Catholic Church and its priorities for its 1,3 billion claimed followers.

Since becoming pope, Francis has sought to promote clergy from developing countries and countries far from Rome to the highest ranks of the Church, as part of his overall philosophy of diversity and inclusion.

The list of future new cardinals announced by Francis on Sunday thus includes members of the clergy from regions where the Church is expanding, such as Latin America, Africa and Asia.

On the African side, it includes the archbishops of Juba (South Sudan), Cape Town (South Africa) and Tabora (Tanzania).

Promoted from 96 years

Asia is notably represented there by the bishop of Penang (Malaysia) and that of Hong Kong, Stephen Chow Sau-Yan, holder of a doctorate in philosophy from the illustrious American university of Harvard and seen as being able to play a role important to improve the difficult relations between the Church and the Beijing regime.

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the highest Catholic authority in the East (and who has authority over the clergy of Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Cyprus), the Italian Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, is also among the promoted .

Three heads of Dicasteries will also be cardinals (a sort of Vatican ministry, editor's note): that of the Dicastery of the Eastern Churches, the Italian Claudio Gugerotti, that of the powerful Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Argentinian Victor Manuel Fernandez, appointed to this position a few days ago by Francis, and that of the Dicastery of Bishops, the American Robert Prevost, responsible for supervising the appointments of bishops after having been a missionary in Peru for a long time.

Frenchman Christophe Pierre, currently Apostolic Nuncio (Ambassador of the Holy See) to the United States after having also been sent from the Vatican, to Haiti, Uganda and Mexico, Archbishop Emeritus of Cumana (Venezuela), Archbishop of Cordoba (Argentina) and a 96-year-old Capuchin priest from Buenos Aires are also on the list.

During the last consistory, held in August 2022, Francis had enthroned 20 new cardinals. He personally chose some 90 of the 132 eligible cardinals to elect a new pope, about two-thirds of the total.

During a consistory, future cardinals traditionally kneel one by one before the pope, who then places the red barrette (square skullcap) on their heads. They are then presented to the public.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock/ Riccardo De Luca - Update

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